Review: Lauren Alaina packs a punch on debut CD

Review: Lauren Alaina packs a punch on debut CD

October 12th, 2011 by Associated Press in Life Entertainment

The latest release by Lauren Alaina, "Wildflower," is shown.

The latest release by Lauren Alaina, "Wildflower," is...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

MICHAEL McCALL, For The Associated Press

Lauren Alaina, this year's "American Idol" runner-up, opens her debut album with a country-rock stomper, "Georgia Peaches." The song establishes that this 16-year-old from the Peach State may come across as sweet and delicate, but vocally, she packs a punch.

Preternaturally confident, she sounds best on the most playful tunes, including a jaunty summertime ode ("Tupelo"), a challenge to a suitor ("I'm Not One Of Them") and a backwoods romp reminiscent of Gretchen Wilson ("One Of Those Boys").

The album only suffers when Alaina takes on material too carefully designed for a young female singer, such as the overly predictable first single "Like My Mother Does." Elsewhere, she does fine with coming-of-age narratives, such as "Growing Her Wings" and "She's A Wildflower."

But her star power comes across most significantly on a ballad, "The Middle," suitable for a singer of any age. Alaina belts it out with show-stopping drama, proving she has what it takes to become a top country music star.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: The only song Alaina co-wrote, "Funny Thing About Love," also comes across as the album's most mature cut. The funky, rocking arrangement lets Alaina show off a range of emotions, from vulnerability to desire to a passion edged in anger.