Jamie Lynn Spears, ‘How Could I Want More’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]
Jamie Lynn Spears' country debut is as honest and authentic as many (OK, most) figured it probably wouldn't be. 'How Could I Want More' is a sharp, vulnerable lyric that the 22-year-old little sister to Britney Spears takes full ownership of. There's not a whiff of that pretension that so often follows a pop star as he or she crosses into country music.
In fact, if she didn't have the famous last name, one would never guess there was a pop star in the family. The acoustic opening is so clean you can hear the player sliding his hands along the fretboard. Later, a slide guitar solo reaffirms the pure country style of this song. Can you hear that subtle whine of the pedal steel? Spears' producer has done a great job with the arrangement and her vocals. She's not a brilliant singer, but the faint echo that lingers after each note brings a rare intimacy to her performance.
Spears sings about wishing she loved her man more, because he deserves it: "Treats me like a princess / Let's me have it my way / I could tell he's hanging / On every word that I say / All he does is love me / He swears that’s what he’s here for / So how could I want more."
The verses are uniquely personal. Each line comes heavy with remorse that burrows deep into one's memory. Who hasn't been this girl, or the guy she's singing about? During the chorus, she takes the narrative to a deeper level, explaining what it is she's looking for without being too verbose.
"More fire, more feeling / More stars than what I'm seeing / More … find behind that door / More power, more passion / Instead of just acting / Like I'm the one that he's been looking for."
The sparseness of her lyric leaves room for her emotions to come weeping through the melody -- something Spears proves very capable of allowing. That's not easy, especially for someone as young as she is. Mature beyond her years? A country soul? A singer country radio needs? Yes, these are all things we're saying about Jamie Lynn Spears.
Key Lyrics: "I oughta say I'm sorry / I oughta say it's over / Let him live his own life / Stop crying on his shoulder / He'd probably say it's alright / And hold me while my tears pour / So how could I want more."
Did You Know?: Spears' country debut is a long time coming. She moved to Nashville in 2010 and first turned up onstage to perform original songs one year later. A pop-country album was expected, but it's not clear if that's the direction she's chosen for her first project. 'How Could I Want More' would seem to indicate she's leaning traditional.
Listen to Jamie Lynn Spears, 'How Could I Want More'