LeAnn Rimes

Sittin' on Top of the World

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Truth be told, the "country" label doesn't quite fit LeAnn Rimes. True, her debut single, "Blue," sounded like a lost honky tonk classic, but You Light Up My Life suggested that she wanted to be an adult contemporary crooner. Her third album (and, in many ways, the official follow-up to Blue), Sittin' on Top of the World, may be called country, but it's an adult contemporary album by any other name. Only three songs have any country feel to them, and they just barely fit that description -- there may be steel guitars on "These Arms of Mine," and "Rock Me" may shuffle, but they hardly feel country. Most of the record consists of overarranged mid-tempo pop songs, as produced by her father, Wilbur. There's no denying that Rimes is quite talented and, given the proper guidance, could definitely make some great music, but Wilbur has selected a batch of material that's either inappropriate (really, Prince's "Purple Rain"?) or faceless. He's also pushed her to oversing, in hopes that it would sell the songs, but the truth of the matter is, she sounds best when she's relaxed and natural. And that's what's so frustrating about Sittin' on Top of the World -- Rimes' gifts and personality surface just often enough to make you realize that this blandly pleasant album could have been much, much better.

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