Cassadee Pope was already a professional musician when she auditioned for, and subsequently won, season three of the popular singing competition The Voice. Fronting the rock band Hey Monday before the group went on hiatus in 2011, Cassadee was honing her craft as an artist and entertainer previous to Blake Shelton picking her for his team during the 2012 season. However, The Voice served as a catalyst for Cassadee, pushing her to step out in front and add her own name to the marquee. Now releasing her debut solo album, Cassadee shows that she’s more than capable of handling the spotlight.
Frame By Frame, which is available now, is a roller coaster of emotion ranging from the frenetic highs of the all-nighter “Champagne” to the guilt-ridden lows of the no-good cheatin’ song “Easier To Lie.” A powerful vocalist blending the force of Kelly Clarkson with the attitude of Miranda Lambert and the melodic ease of Carrie Underwood, Cassadee’s sound is uniquely country, pop and rock. The lead single “Wasting All These Tears” opens to ambient banjo and fiddle before erupting into a fiery chorus full of compelling visuals. You left me standing on a corner cryin’/Feeling like a fool for trying, she sings with cutting passion. Country story songs like the full speed “This Car” are oftentimes backed up with pop-ready hooks that aren’t easily forgotten.
Cassadee co-wrote “This Car” as well as nearly half of all the project’s 11 songs. Though Frame By Frame is consistently accessible, it’s Cassadee’s own writing that stands out for its honesty and vulnerability. Music’s powerful influence in her life shows up in “Everybody Sings” as well as the empowering “Proved You Wrong.” Cassadee describes herself as an outsider in the former, referencing how music helps her connect to the world. Possibly the album’s best the song, the ¾-time power ballad “You Hear A Song,” winds up beautiful chaos while appreciating the imperfections during a chorus with the power of a lightning storm. There are times on the album, however, when the 24-year-old Florida native can be a little too tough on herself. The devastating, autobiographical folk song “11,” sung from her childhood perspective during her parent’s divorce, comes with the line; I was a little too young and a little too dumb. It’s extremely harsh even though the words do go a long way to reveal her innermost feelings.
Lyrics and themes found in songs like the Ashley Monroe-penned “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” and the easy waltz “One Song Away” are firmly rooted in the country genre. The raw emotions packed into lines like, I wish I could crash your dreams, come with a straightforward and blunt honesty that speaks to the genre’s genetic makeup. The album opener “Good Times” might use electro-pop beats and slickly-produced guitars to go with a pedal steel-lined chorus, but Cassadee’s candor and emphasis on true-to-life feelings tie her to the genre’s realism. And on Frame By Frame, Cassadee creates her own niche with a unique sound and compelling energy that proves she’s ready to be the main attraction.
Key Tracks – “You Hear A Song,” “Wasting All These Tears,” “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart,” “Good Times”