Friday, June 21, 2013

Music Review: Some Lessons Learned by Kristin Chenoweth

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Plenty of fun songs, Kristin's voice
Cons: Some of the songs, while fun, aren't quite my cup of tea
The Bottom Line
Country flavored songs
Enjoyable tracks but not
Quite my normal taste

Kristin Embraces Her Country Side

Kristin Chenoweth never comes close to releasing the same CD twice.  Her first recording was jazz and Broadway inspired.  Then she did her Contemporary Christian release followed by a traditional Christmas project.  Now comes her fourth studio track, Some Lessons Learned.  The biggest lesson to learn here is that you'll struggle with it if you don't like country music.

Since Kristin grew up in Oklahoma, she knows country music, and it shows.  This disc has a fun collection of upbeat numbers and a few slower tracks mixed in.  There is a definite twang on some of the tracks, but it's manageable for people like me who hate country because of the twang.

Personally, however, I'm torn on this release.  There are plenty of tracks I like.  The disc starts out with  "I Was Here," which is a good reminder to live to make a mark on someone else while we are here.  It's a nice mid-tempo number that keeps the twang to a minimum.

I also love "Fathers and Daughters," a tribute to the special bond these two family members have.  This is a slow ballad with guitar as the primary instrument, but there are some beautiful strings in there if you listen for it.  I dare you to listen to this one without choking up just a little.

Then there's "God and Me."  Again, it's a slower track that dares to ask God about the heartbreak from a broken relationship.

Relationships form the theme for many of the songs here.  It also pops up in "What If We Never," "Change," and "Mine to Love."  While most of these are about a relationship that has ended, there are songs about longing for a relationship like "What More Do You Want" which finds Kristin longing for someone to share her life with.  All these songs give me a sense of melancholy.

My bigger problem comes from the fast tracks, believe it or not.  They are fun songs, but they worm themselves into my head, and I really don't like having the lines stuck in my head.  "I Want Somebody" finds Kristin longing for a relationship on her terms, and honestly she sounds rather selfish at times here.  But the line I'm most likely to get stuck in my head?  "I want somebody to b!tch about."  Yeah, I want that stuck in my head, especially since it's not the basis of a good relationship.

Even more fun is a song that Kristin had a help in writing.  She really lets the twang come in on "What Would Dolly Do," a song for the woman who has found her man cheating.  The lines of this one are very funny, I just don't like having the title stuck in my head all day.

Finally, there's "I Didn't," a song about the disagreements in a relationship.  However, the reason the couple broke up?  "He thought he was God and I didn't."  Yeah, it's fun and full on country again.  Actually, this one doesn't seem to get stuck in my head, but I wouldn't mind as much if it did.  Again, it's funny.

I suspect that several of these songs are covers, but I don't know enough about country music to know for sure.  These versions are certainly good, and I'm sure if you are familiar with another version you'll find the ones here good, too.

I do know that one of the songs is a cover for sure.  Kristin previously recorded "Borrowed Angels" on her second CD.  This time around, it's slower and more acoustic with an almost a cappella start.  As the song goes on, the instruments build.  It's very string heavy and absolutely beautiful.

Some Lessons Learned isn't my favorite Kristin Chenoweth CD.  I'm a little embarrassed to play it when some of my friends are around.  But the songs are pretty fun.  I think it's going to become one of my guilty pleasure discs.  I guess that's a lesson learned.

CD Length: 45:05
1. I Was Here
2. I Want Somebody
3. Fathers and Daughters
4. What Would Dolly Do
5. God and Me
6. Change
7. What More Do You Want
8. Wreck You
9. I Didn't
10. Borrowed Angels
11. What If We Never
12. Mine to Love
13. Lessons Learned

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