Just because summer is over does not mean new music can't set you on fire. Such is the case with American Idol Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina's first outing. With Wildflower, Alaina lands on sizzling ground with a rowdy--and emotional--debut set, which was produced by Byron Gallimore. Alaina, who understandably admires fellow Idol alum Carrie Underwood, takes beautiful notes in crafting touching stories and foot-stomping summer-like anthems that suit a girl not yet out of high school.
The first track, "Georgia Peaches," penned by Mallary Hope, Blair Daly, and Rachel Proctor, scorches the hinges off screen doors and embodies a Miranda Lambert and Underwood-like sass. "Our shorts a little shorter, ' cause the sun's a little hotter," Alaina teases on the chorus. Comparable to her fellow blonde belters, Alaina knows how to stir up trouble, as she connects the dots on why boys pick girls like her. However, quite unlike Lambert's signature man-hating material ("Kerosene," "Gunpowder and Lead"), Alaina's energy is channeled in a much more playful and freewheeling way, giving her a chance to carve out a niche for herself.
Continuing intriguing melodic hooks and wholesome vocals, Alaina's" Growing Her Wings," is a page out of a Sara Evans playbook. The tune was written by Nicolle Galyon and Nicole Witt and fits Alaina like a glove. With a "Suds in the Bucket" flavor, "Wings" projects a feel good attitude despite feeling "stuck in Rice County growing her wings." Alaina even dabbles in some early Dixie Chicks goodness, ala "Wide Open Spaces," without seeming stale. During her Idol run, Alaina injected her performances with a hearty inflection and phrasing, and on "Wings," her unique flair is most evident.
A mid-tempo track, "Tupelo," written by Steven McEwan, Gordie Sampson, and Hillary Lindsey, who has collaborated with Underwood, lets the listener play catch up. Packed tightly into three minutes and thirty seconds, "Tupelo" is a simple story about a roadtrip and falling in love. While Alaina might not be falling for a boy currently, she threads her 16 years of experience into a sweet tale everyone can relate to. "We sang all the way down to Tupelo, love struck right on the money," she cooes. Money would bet that she has an old flame in mind when singing this ditty.