Album Review: ‘The Voice’ winner Cassadee Pope’s ‘Frame By Frame’

10.08.13 5 years ago

Has “The Voice” finally produced a winner who will turn into a  true radio star?

Though “The Voice” now outdraws “American Idol,” unlike “Idol,” it has yet to produce an artist who has caught hold at radio. The coaches remain the stars of the show rather than the contestants. Season One and Two winners Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul gained no traction following their wins.

With Cassadee Pope, “The Voice” may have come up with a winner whose career extends beyond the end of the television season.

Pre- “The Voice,” Pope had a pop background with the group Hey Monday, who toured with such groups as Fall Out Boy and All Time Low. She also sang on a number of other artists” songs, including The Cab, We The Kings, and Cobra Starship.

Now, she”s traded in her pop career for a country one… sort of.  “Frame By Frame,” out today, is such generic, slick country pop that the label”s intent to cross her over to pop given half the chance is painfully obvious. It”s all more the shame because Pope has a strong voice. It”s not particularly distinctive and she tends to sound like Taylor Swift a bit too much, but it”s powerful and rich.

Pope co-wrote five on the songs on here, but mainly relies on the top tier of songwriters here, including Max Martin and Shellback, best known for their work with Britney Spears, and Nathan Chapman, one of Swift”s main collaborators. That”s fine to bring in ringers, but when their songs sound like they could have gone to any number of female pop singers (“Proved You Wrong” sounds like it was written for Demi Lovato; first single, “Wasting All These Tears,” for Avril Lavigne), it”s time to look for something a little more distinctive.

Speaking of  “Wasting,” the tune is  No. 25 on Billboard”s Country Airplay chart. That would not be such a feat except for the chart is totally male dominated right now (she is only one of four women in the Top 30), so the fact that she has any traction is a positive sign.

It”s a shame that so much of the material is so cookie cutter, because when Pope turns personal, such as on “11,” a genuine song about how her life changed when her father deserted the family, she shows what she can do when she opens up. It”s emotional and it doesn”t sound like every other song on the radio. Similarly, “You Hear A Song,” a song about how hard girls are on themselves-  “I see a mess in the mirror/you see the girl of your dreams”-could resonate with young country female fans for its sweet sentiment.

Pope also has the push of CMT behind her: she stars in her own reality show on the cable outlet about her post- “The Voice” life as she navigates trying to make it as a solo artist.

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