10 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Kellie Pickler's 2008 self-titled sophomore album offers encouraging signs. Her status as a feisty American Idol runner-up earned her a Nashville recording contract and a successful first album. This time out, she is aided by sharp production (by Chris Lindsey) and a number of smart, memorable tunes (five of which she co-wrote). Pickler’s singing is still on the lighter side, well-suited to buoyant material like “I’m Your Woman” and “Best Days of Your Life” (the latter co-written by fellow AI alumnus Taylor Swift). She romps through the deliciously catty “Rocks Instead of Rice” and winks at her own ditzy image in “Goin’ Out in Style.” Her ballads aren’t as consistent — “Somebody to Love Me” works as country-pop melodrama, while “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” can feel heavy-handed. She connects solidly with “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” a self-esteem anthem reminiscent of Martina McBride’s “This One’s For the Girls.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Kellie Pickler's 2008 self-titled sophomore album offers encouraging signs. Her status as a feisty American Idol runner-up earned her a Nashville recording contract and a successful first album. This time out, she is aided by sharp production (by Chris Lindsey) and a number of smart, memorable tunes (five of which she co-wrote). Pickler’s singing is still on the lighter side, well-suited to buoyant material like “I’m Your Woman” and “Best Days of Your Life” (the latter co-written by fellow AI alumnus Taylor Swift). She romps through the deliciously catty “Rocks Instead of Rice” and winks at her own ditzy image in “Goin’ Out in Style.” Her ballads aren’t as consistent — “Somebody to Love Me” works as country-pop melodrama, while “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” can feel heavy-handed. She connects solidly with “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” a self-esteem anthem reminiscent of Martina McBride’s “This One’s For the Girls.”

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