Cassadee Pope’s ‘Stages’ In the Round Album Review

Cassadee Pope is back with her amazing new album ‘Stages’. Members of the Belles and Gals team have got together to write an ‘in the round’ review, where several team members get together and write about a particular song that is close to their heart. Here’s our look at ‘Stages’.

Bring Me Down Town – Laura Klonowski (twitter.com/cherylssoldier1)

US Country superstar Cassadee Pope has returned with her gorgeous new album ‘Stages’ and for my the major standout is the anthemic ‘Bring Me Down Town’ which is in fact Pope’s favourite on the LP too. There’s no surprise that this track about visiting a town that brings back too many memories is a fave of Cassadee’s as it’s the power track on ‘Stages’ and it really showcases her incredibly powerful vocal range while the lyrics highlight her growth and maturity. She knows how to create a mainstream Country hit and this is it. It’s a major contender for the next single to be lifted off the record and personally I feel this could become a major radio and chart hit. It has that Lady Antebellum vibe that fans will adore and overall this is a track that will resonate with many listeners.

Still Got It – Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)

Most of us have been there, you see your ex and, even tho’ it’s been a while, what attracted you to them initially is still evident. But do you tell them, and what happens next?
I love how things unfold in this, the penultimate track on the album, which grabbed my attention from the start as most of my favourite songs tend to. It tells its story so beautifully, and you can visualise exactly what is happening when Cassadee unexpectedly runs into her old flame on a short visit to her hometown.
The song begins with two exchanging the usual pleasantries, and while she notices some differences ( like some new tattoos) he is ultimately still the same guy she fell in love with. All it takes is for him to look into her eyes and the feelings come flooding back. One of the slower paced tracks, the gentle verses move the story along, with the couple re-visiting their old haunts, feelings still running high for them both resulting in a “second chance first kiss” .
The choruses soar beautifully in contrast, with Cassadee singing of the attributes her ex still possesses before cleverly going on to let him know of another thing he’s still got ……” I’ve got a confession to make, if you wonder where my heart is, if you want it, well baby you still got it” . And in the break she tells him how “ Everything’s changed, guess what, things stay the same” , yes she is definitely still carrying a torch for him.
An all-female co-write, Cascade has teamed up with Emily Shackleton and Victoria Banks on this one. It really demonstrates the emotion Cassadee is capable of portraying vocally and the strong beat throughout the track helps give it an anthemic vibe. There’s some great guitar work going on ion the background and the tag line at the end of the chorus is repeated several times, making for a very catch track. I can envisage this one being a real fan sing-along when performed live and I think its a great contender for a future single.

FYI – Liam Lewis (twitter.com/liam0324)

FYI is a mid-tempo genre crossing track with airs of pop and R&B, whilst retaining the fast-growing foundations of country-pop. FYI follows the trend of the rest of the album and acts a part of the healing process for Pope, who is using her talent to embrace her previous experiences and develop her future self. The track is a hard-hitting note to the new lover of an ex-boyfriend, in which the lyrical protagonist is warning her that she is not the only girl who has his eye. With lyrical turns such as “Oh darlin’, I don’t got a motive, I thought you should know this, You’re not the only one on his mind.” Pope and her co-writers (Blake Hubbard, Jarrod Ingram and Maghan Kabir) have perfected the view of a scorned lover who aims to protect others from experiencing the pain and heartbreak in which she has been subjected to. The track eloquently displays Pope’s widely varying musical influences and encompasses a cross-genre sound, whilst retaining the deep lyrical storytelling which accompanies country music. Couple this perfect accompaniment of influences, with incredible vocals and a talent for lyrical development, and not only do you have the perfect track but a truly brilliant album.

Distracted – Megan Roberts (twitter.com/megwritesalot)

‘Distracted’ is an extremely catchy song that’s sure to stick in your head – and you won’t be mad about it! 
It’s upbeat tune features what some would refer to as the controversial ‘snap country’ beat (the clicks) which is a prominent trait in a lot of modern country tracks. Personally I think in this case it completes the sound, working well with the mood of the song. 
Cassadee sings about having her “head up in the clouds” and not being able to focus on anything or anyone but the person who’s got her “distracted”. The lyrics are very lighthearted and fun, the changing in the tempo of her voice throughout accentuates this effortlessly. 
Overall I think this fits perfect in what is a feel-good record. One of my favourites on the album!

One More Red Light – Mike Ross (twitter.com/rossmike15)

Track 2 on Cassadee Pope’s latest album, Stages, is an exceptional ode to that first high school love. Memories of the shared letter jacket “hanging off my shoulder” and late night dates in which a couple will “close down that restaurant ‘cuz the goin’ out’s supposed to be over,” are just a few examples of the straightforward writing of One More Red Light that effortlessly rekindle all of the feels. For younger listeners, its catchy chorus (“Another slide over to your side, stealing kisses. Baby, I just want to drag it out.”) is bound to land it on many a playlist dedicated to summer love and trying to make those few hours together last as long as possible.

Don’t Ask Me – Katie Louise Ingram (twitter.com/xkatie19x)

Don’t Ask Me, my personal favourite on the album, don’t ask me why though! The song highlights the struggle and heartbreak of ending a long relationship – trying to get her head around it all and convincing herself she is OK.

I could say I’m doin’ alright, I’m happy with the new guy, But you know it when I lie” The raw emotion you can hear in her vocals do an amazing job of expressing that heartache. Cassadee certainly knows how to kill a song with that incredible vocal talent she possesses! This song has new single potential written all over it and would be a perfect track for airplay on mainstream radio!

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