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With the recent release of ‘Two Step’, Laura Bell Bundy is having her second stab at the country music world. But there’s a reason it didn’t work the first time.
Laura Bell Bundy is a former Broadway star, and thus she is used to playing characters, in fact is it almost inherent. You might think that she is therefore ideal for country music, but she is a performer rather than an authentic storyteller. In other words, she doesn’t sing the truth but instead plays a part, making her performances decidedly shallow and devoid of meaning. I don’t believe the sentiments in her music, I don’t feel her pain as if it were her own, I just feel her acting. It feels like a false persona. Country fans don’t like that.
Then there’s the overwhelming fact that she, as an artist, is downright gimmicky. Her first single, ‘Giddy On Up’ provided a music video laden with cheese depicting Laura Bell in a western, stylized in the same showbiz way as a musical. It was over the top and had Broadway written all over it. Even using the horse-related metaphor of ‘giddy on up and giddy on out’ to refer to kicking a cheating boyfriend out was gimmicky in itself.
The new song and video, ‘Two Step’, remains in this vein. While it tries to channel the girly sass of superstars like Miranda Lambert, it screams try-hard and lyrics like “ride that donkey” and the cheesy depiction of western lifestyles within the song are again gimmicky and over the top. It’s also, fundamentally, a plain pop song with a fiddle and banjo occasionally making an appearance. If you strip them out there is no country in the song whatsoever. The video furthers these effects, beginning exactly like a musical and descending into a pop video, with a pop look and dance routine seen over and over again in the past 15 years. Colt Ford just adds to the mismatched embarrassment.
Laura Bell Bundy can’t connect to her lyrics or to her audience, and she is caught up in a past profession of Broadway, showbiz and cheese. None of these translate well to country music, and it comes across as a desperate attempt to make it in a new career, rather than a lifelong passion or desire to be a country musician. She is a pop princess trying to make a buck that country music fans did not accept the first time, and will not accept this time either.
You’d think, now being signed to Big Machine, they’d tar her with the golden brush of success, but apparently even they can’t work miracles.