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Lauren Alaina, ‘Barefoot and Buckwild’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Barefoot and Buckwild
Mercury Nashville

Meet the new Lauren Alaina. With just a few weeks of her senior year of high school remaining, the singer introduces a grown-up new look, grown-up style and grown-up attitude with her latest single, ‘Barefoot and Buckwild.’ It’s especially difficult to find songs that fit when you’re short on life experience, so the one-time ‘American Idol‘ runner-up wrote her own …

… and it fits like a prom dress that stops the deejay. ‘Barefoot and Buckwild’ is sassy and sexy without being too risque for a teenager. It’s flirty, but not Snooki-level flirty. Most importantly the uptemo, pop-country track is a ton of fun.

The song is an extension of ‘Georgia Peaches,’ the second (and most successful) single from ‘Wildflower.’ There have been more than a few back road, country lovin’ singles released in recent months, but few from a female, and none that paint a more complete picture.

You’re showin’ off in circles down by the riverside / You like to make me nervous so I move in real tight / Come on throw it in park / I wanna see the stars and feel the grass between my toes / Dancing to the radio / Oh you got me where you want me, lost in the country,” Alaina sings during the second verse. She’s suddenly brimming with confidence, and her personality soaks through like never before.

Her producer takes a chance with pure pop vocal effects at the end of the chorus and several times throughout the verses. At first listen, the echoes remind one of a Britney Spears song — and she’ll be criticized for that. However, Alaina and her team were smart to create a sound and style that defines her, even if it comes at the risk of losing a traditional audience. Playing it safe would only create another Top 40 single, not the hit song she needs to be taken seriously by radio.

You slide me over, little love shootin’ shotgun / Hands out the window got my toes up on the dash / Nothing but fields on the wheels just slinging wet mud / I like the way you drive, just like a rebel child / You make me wanna get barefoot and buckwild.”

After Season 10 of ‘American Idol’ it was clear Scotty McCreery was most ready to be a star, but Alaina had the most untapped potential. She’s realizing that now with a song that embraces who she is instead of music that her television-loving audience wanted. Every jab and insult hurled her way moving forward marks a step in the right direction. After all, who is hated (and loved) more than that supposed pop star wannabe Taylor Swift?

4 Stars

Listen to Lauren Alaina, ‘Barefoot and Buckwild’

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Next: See Lauren Alaina in Her 'Idol' Days

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