Love and Theft: Album Review

2012_Love-and-Theft-350

In 2008/2009, Love & Theft first came on the country
scene, and I was only aware because they were proving very popular with the
Taylor Swift fans I was friends with. They had a semi-successful single and
faded from view. Fast forward to 2012 and they jump back in with Angel Eyes, a
hit that seems to do what they know – teen pop music with a bit of twang. I can
definitely see them appealing to a new generation of teenage ‘Swifties’ and
others like them.

Their self-titled sophomore album recently came out and if
you like the lead-off single, ‘Angel Eyes’, then you’re guaranteed to like the
rest of the album, as it’s pretty much more of the same. The first single
itself is an upbeat, singalong tune characterised by guitar-based pop with
additions of mandolins in the background. It’s references to country are based
around religious elements, set around the line ‘there’s a little bit of devil
in those angel eyes’. A preacher’s daughter who sings in church but goes out
drinking at the bar and acting wild, she is depicted as the ‘perfect country
girl’. I can imagine there are a lot of young good girls who imagine themselves
to be a bit of a rebel at heart, who will love this song. Honestly, any loving
song sung by a hot male is going to get girls of most ages out of breath.


The following song ‘Inside Out’, is again guitar-based pop
and completely a summer driving song, by the driving infectious beat and
repetitive melody line. This song taps into the typical country escape and
freedom song of late, with lines such as ‘I can’t wait to get you out of this
bar, right into the seat of my car’ and driving away into the country. It adds
the risqué element of sex being on the menu if you will, but it’s harmless and
just a cheeky bit of fantasy. The fun atmosphere is continued with ‘Runnin’ Out
Of Air’, and the pop element is only intensified. The chorus is very catchy and
wouldn’t sound out of place from a band like the Jonas Brothers, so I can see
why it’s the second single. The instrumentation hasn’t changed very much thus
far, as always the mandolin is thrown in low in the mix in order to add
something extra. The lyrics are about the narrator being so in love with a girl
that he’s ‘runnin’ out of air’, again tapping into the in-love theme.

They change up the vibe a bit for ‘Amen’, which is a ballad
of sorts, relaxed with very much a bluesy feel. Even their voices seem to
change style and suddenly have a soul-esque feel to them. This is can be difficult to accomplish unless you've mastered several singing
tutorials
. The instrumentation
changes as well, putting blue distortion on the electric guitar, using clap
beats and making full use of the of the piano and acoustic guitar. The lyrics
again relate to religion and love with the hint of sex, asking the girl if they
can just stay in bed together and not go to church this one Sunday. They’re
really building up the lovestruck theme by now but this song is a nice change
and one of the better songs on the album.

Next, we have a 12-string guitar on ‘If You Ever Get
Lonely’, and we’re back to the classic boyband pop music, though I’m hearing
quite a few Rascal Flatts influences in the melody and the vocal harmonies,
even down to the way they structure the instruments in the mix. The lyrics are
still lovestruck, this time the narrator telling the girl he loves, who’s moved
on with her life, that if she ever gets bored or lonely, or just wants to talk
to someone, he’ll be there. I can see this appealing to a lot of teenage girls
pining after boys who have moved on from them. ‘Thinking Of You (And Me)’
utilises the piano again and is a sweet ballad much in the same vein as Taylor
Swift’s ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’, as the best friend declaring their love. I
can see this being a big hit if they release it as a single because that theme
is really popular.

The following song ‘Town Drunk’ sounds far more country than
the others so far, because of the addition of the steel guitar and very similar
guitar lines to much of the country charts at the moment. The vocal melody also
ties in to this, and therefore this will most likely be released as a single.
It’s a sweet story-song that tells of a boy who looks after a girl whose daddy
is the town drunk, and their love blossoms over the years. It’s one of the best
songs on the album, with some nice metaphorical lyrics ‘broken like a bottle,
running from the only hole she ever had, tangled in the talk behind her back’.

‘Real Good Sign’, is an upbeat, cheerful, ukulele-based
countrypop song, about a man in love with a girl who’s giving away signs that
see might feel the same. It has a catchy, singalong chorus, and it’s sure to
get people dancing, being great for summer. With ‘She’s Amazing’, we’re back to
Rascal Flatts influences, and guitar-based pop with a big chorus declaring his
love. This song is another placing a ‘perfect’ woman on a pedestal and is a
classic style that can’t go wrong.

They change it up a bit now for ‘Girls Love To Shake It’,
with far more of a southern rock vibe, particularly in the heavy drum beat that
starts it off. This is yet another catchy tune, incorporating claps at the end
of the chorus which always make it feel like a communal event. It’s based
around singing the things that various members of society and various things
like, for example, ‘rain likes to fall, sun likes to shine, wheels like to roll
like a corona likes the lime’, finishing with ‘girls like to shake it’ as if
it’s the most natural thing in the world, creating what many women might say is
a fantasy world for men! The similarly named ‘Girls Look Hot In Trucks’
completes the album, and sounds a lot like your typical country ballad on the
radio, with banjo, electric guitar, piano and a steel guitar and some nice harmonies.
This is very similar to the previous song, taking worldy examples and facts and
comparing it with the statement they’re making. For example, the verses talk
about everything that people may disagree on, but the chorus holds everything
that everyone must agree on, including that ‘girls look hot in trucks’. This
has a great groove and is a stand-out track.

Overall, this album has a heavy emphasis on love and being
hopelessly in love, and takes the typical stance of women as perfect, beautiful
things to be appreciated, although often is done in a slightly sexist way (just
my opinion). It’s guitar-based pop mainly but they do make efforts to have more
country songs here and there, both in the subject matter and the sound. They
are perfect in their sound and image for teenage girls and although many of the
songs sounds similar and they don’t experiment too much, I enjoyed the album,
despite the fact it’s usually not really my thing.

You can buy it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/love-and-theft/id538005244

Posted by Vickye (Guest Writer).
If you want to check out my own blog it's For
The Country Record
, and you can follow me on twitter @planmymistake. You can email me at vickye.countrymusic@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “Love and Theft: Album Review”

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