Album Review: Little Big Town’s ‘Wanderlust’
OK….you’ve heard the rumors. Little Big Town is going Pop. They are leaving Country Music for greener musical pastures.
Well….that’s not exactly true. Granted, the award-winning vocal group has recorded a new album with Pharrell Williams handling the producing duties – and likewise, there is not a single being worked to Country radio from the project. But, don’t get ready to bid them farewell from the format a la Taylor Swift. In all of the materials surrounding the release of this set, it is stressed that the Grand Ole Opry members are working on a new Country album tagged for release later in the year.
That being said, this is an interesting look at an act that we as fans have gotten to know very well over the years. “One Dance,” which kicks off the set definitely has a funky sound, with a little bit of a 70s groove intact throughout – and it gives Karen Fairchild a chance to conjure up her inner wild child just a little bit. (If you are a longtime fan, and have seen them in concert, you know she’s wanted to unleash her inner hippie child attitude for a while!) Truth is, it works, and works well!
“Work” has a party-type sound to it that reminds me of The Village People just a little bit. It’s mindless, but a lot of fun. Ditto that description for the rhythmic feel of “Skinny Dippin,” which really whets one’s appetite for a run for the beach.
Whether Wanderlust is your musical bag or not, one has to give Little Big Town credit. There’s some of their most musically adventurous or experimental sounds on this album, from “One Of Those Days” – maybe the best overall fit for Pop radio and “The Boat.” There’s even a bit of a Prince-vibe on “Miracle,” which is decidedly in the R&B vein. And, should Capitol decide to roll the dice and take a chance at Country radio, “C’mon” isn’t too totally removed from what Little Big Town does so well.
All in all, it’s a neat project – one that makes you wonder what the Mona Lisa might have looked like if Leo was into abstract art. I’m sure it would have been an interesting painting, just different. Kudos to Jimi, Karen, Kimberly, and Phillip for stepping outside of their comfort zone. They do it well. But, don’t go Swift on us, Little Big Town….we need you!