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I'm Just a Girl

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Album Review

Deana Carter had a hard time following up her acclaimed debut, 1995's Did I Shave My Legs For This?, stumbling with 1998's Everything's Gonna Be Alright before leaving Capitol Records and re-emerging nearly four and a half years later on Arista Nashville with I'm Just a Girl. A lot had happened in country music in the years that Carter sat out, including shifts toward both pop (in Shania Twain and Faith Hill) and roots (the O Brother Where Art Thou? phenomenon), and Carter continues to run outside the path by not pursuing either direction. Instead, she aims straight toward the heart of adult pop (slightly ironic, given the album's title and its 17 magazine-styled artwork), which really isn't too far off from where she was with on her first record. Still, there are telling differences: The production, apart from the closing raver "Girls' Night," is all smooth and polished, sweetened with pop and lacking nearly any hint of country, as well as the clear sense of humor. There's a keener eye toward a broader audience, right down to the cheesecake photos inside the liner notes, and the product placement in "I'm Just a Girl" sits uneasily (particularly since closing the chorus with "I'm a Chevy girl" makes it sound like an unofficial commercial). Those may seem disarming to those looking for the organic feel of Did I Shave My Legs, but Carter does this pleasing adult pop better than nearly any of her peers, partially because her ambitions are modest and her songwriting is sturdy and tuneful. At times, the production is so even, the music simply flows out of the speaker without distinction between tracks, but the result is a record that holds together as a nice mood piece while holding up as individual songs. True, it doesn't deliver a knockout punch upon the first listen, but it wasn't designed to. It's a quiet grower, filled with easy listening and sunny vibes. It might not earn quite the same audience as her debut, but this is about as good as adult-oriented pop gets in 2003.


Born: 1964 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Though she didn't begin her musical career until relatively late, Deana Carter managed to defy conventional expectations and unexpectedly shot to the top of the country charts upon the release of her 1996 debut, Did I Shave My Legs for This? Carter's success was equally unexpected considering that she didn't quite fit into the mold of a standard female contemporary country singer. Melding the popular appeal of country chanteuses with folky singer/songwriters like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Carter racked...
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I'm Just a Girl, Deana Carter
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