Album Spotlight: Lauren Alaina, ‘Road Less Traveled’
When Lauren Alaina said her new album Road Less Traveled was going to be empowering, yet brutally honest, she meant it.
Alaina strikes a chord on the new project in a way only she could — bringing to life her personal battles with bulimia, her father's alcohol addiction and parents' divorce through song. She comes in hot on the album's opening track with a perky pop-country beat, getting right to the punch with lyrics like "Daddy got sober / Mama got his best friend / I’ve cut down cryin’ to every other weekend." Her vocals have matured vastly since her Idol days, exhibiting genuine emotion and pure control in her singing abilities.
This theme of raw emotion continues on several of the album's tracks, from the captivating "Three," where Alaina spills her feelings about the pain she's felt being away from home and missing special moments, to "Same Day Different Bottle," which enraptures the listener with its haunting melody. In the latter song, Alaina peels back the curtain to give us a look into her father's struggle with alcoholism, watching as he battles his own demons while Alaina herself is in pain trying to help him. Her raw vocals make the song that much stronger.
"Pretty," Alaina's favorite song off the album, is just as powerful, encouraging young girls to step away from the mirror and the unnatural beauty standards forced upon them, painting a striking image with lyrics like "All the other girls are thinner / So you skip another dinner / Tell yourself / It’s for you health." It's the perfect track with which to close out the album, bringing the journey full circle.
Road Less Traveled starts off strong, as Alaina takes fans on an emotional journey, pouring her heart out with personal stories, but gets a little watered down in the middle with more predictable songs that don’t seem to come from as personal a place. Many of these, melodically speaking, don't sound much different than everything else that’s dominating country radio today.
But where it blends in melodically, Road Less Traveled stands out at the core with its lyrics, all about empowerment, positivity and loving yourself no matter what you're faced with in life — valuable lessons to learn from a young artist who's managed to overcome adversity and turn it into art that aims to empower us all.
Did You Know?: Alaina co-wrote the album's debut single and title track with pop star Meghan Trainor and acclaimed writer and mixer Jesse Frasure (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Lane)
Key Tracks: "Road Less Traveled," "Same Day Different Bottle," "Pretty," "Three"
Watch: Lauren Alaina Opens Up About the Song "Pretty"