Bonnie McKee

Trouble

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Unlike most of her teen pop peers in the early 2000s, Bonnie McKee gets writing credits for all the music and lyrics on her debut album. But though a songwriting team like the Matrix isn't involved, Trouble's producers (Rob Cavallo and Bob Power) have ensured that it features a slick, radio and video-ready sound that's comparable to what's out there. McKee too, as a songwriter, focuses on familiar themes of adolescent empowerment and the ways of the heart. One of the album's best moments is "A Voice That Carries," which winds rangy acoustic guitar effects around a prideful tale of modern cowgirl mosey. "I don't need anybody to lead the way," she sings. "I've got a voice that carries...Gonna carry me down to L.A." Lead single "Trouble," "January," and "When It All Comes Down" all pulse along on electronic percussion and multiple layers of crackling guitar effects, and McKee herself is surrounded by multiple vocal tracks. Slower material like "Sensitive Subject Matter" and the ballad "Honey" also showcase her voice, which is stronger and more expressive than the Avrils and Britneys of the world.

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