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Jana Kramer, ‘Whiskey’ – Song Review

Jana Kramer Whiskey
Warner Nashville

With her second single, ‘Whiskey,’ Jana Kramer proves the vulnerability she showed on ‘Why Ya Wanna’ was no fluke. It’s tough to turn away from her hurt, which on this song is aided by a tight lyric and sensible mix of pop and traditional country styling.

The singer/actress debuted ‘Whiskey’ during an episode of ‘One Tree Hill’ in 2011, but it didn’t make a huge impression until being released on her debut album in June of 2012. Eighteen months ago, Taste of Country wrote: “Kramer shows promise, but like many songs born within a television series it’s difficult to know if she’s genuine … But like Joey from ‘Blossom’ and Zack Attack on ‘Saved by the Bell’ (‘Friends Forever,’ anyone?), Kramer is talented enough that she’ll find her niche somewhere once she focuses.”

The strength of ‘Jana Kramer’ and success of ‘Why Ya Wanna’ speak to her sincerity. This song is not without flaws, however. Vocally, Kramer has highs and lows. At times, she tries to twang it up, making words like “help” sound like “heeilp.” The Detroit-born songstress doesn’t quite pull this off, but shines during moments that require strength and range.

Should have just called it like I saw it / Should have just called for help and ran like hell that day / The burn and the sting and the high and the heat and the left me one more feeling when he kissed me / Should have just called him ‘Whiskey,’” she sings.

Each verse in ‘Whiskey’ is a captivating snapshot that provides the beginning to a story one can finish in his or her head. While her souped-up southern charm might be a bit over the top, it actually works to sell the heartache. “Warmed my body to the core just like a blanket / Tasted so sweet than you took my breath away / Hit me so hard like a rock through a window / Knew I was in trouble from the moment I met you, boy.”

Kramer has a good thing going. One worries if a television or movie role could pull her away from her Nashville focus, but if the 28-year-old can continue to build momentum slowly, she could find herself among the top female vocalists in country music in three to five years. However, the allure of big and small screen work has proved to be too seductive on more than one occasion for other young female artists in years past.

3.5 Stars

Listen to Jana Kramer, ‘Whiskey’

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Next: See the Top 40 Country Songs for November 2012

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