In recent months Kellie Pickler promised a more traditional sound on her next album. While never criticizing the pop-friendly style she'd become known for since placing sixth on season five of 'American Idol,' the newlywed has been making it known she was going to tell her story the way she wants it told from now on. Her first chapter -- the just released single 'Tough' -- sounds like the lead-in to a book that never gets put down.

The audacious, uptempo autobiographical number blows away all the froth that covered up who this woman is on past albums: "I wanted lace / I wanted pearls / To be a princess like the other girls / But life came hard to my front door / And I grew up trying to even up the score." Like any great song, it quickly turns to a chorus that's genuine and easy to relate to.

"Tough / I ain't never been nothing but tough / All my edges have always been rough / But Jesus loves me anyway," she sings before adding lyrics later in the song that could be pointed toward any number of people in her personal or professional life: "You want a shy little thing / A pretty little high-heeled thing / Gonna cry if I don't polish up / Tough." While Pickler revealed to Taste of Country that she worked with her husband Kyle Jacobs on the new album, she didn't say if 'Tough' was one they worked on together.

The new sound is a courageous step for a woman (after this song it'd be disrespectful to call her a "girl" any longer) who wasn't exactly struggling to move merchandise. Fans who love hits like 'Red High Heels' might not love the new Pickler, but if that's the case, she'll find an entire new audience that appreciates her message. 'Tough' is a female anthem that over time even men won't be able to resist cranking up on the radio.

Taste of Country Rating 5 Stars

Preview Kellie Pickler, 'Tough'

Listen to the full song now on!

Kellie Pickler Fans: Time to get 'Tough'! We’re giving away three boxing gloves autographed by Kellie Pickler herself. After you’ve listened to the full song at and left your comments about it here, enter to win a signed boxing glove by following @tasteofcountry on Twitter and re-tweeting the announcement of the giveaway. You must enter by 11:59PM ET on Wednesday, May 25. We’ll choose three winners at random. Good luck!

Kellie Pickler Signed Boxing Glove

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