Now this is a surprise indeed. I loathed Kellie Pickler when she was on the fifth season of American Idol due to her off-key caterwauling and her idiotic and fake small town dumb girl act that she and the show sold to the audience with the subtlety of a jackhammer into the head.
But oh my, Small Town Girl is filled with songs that are so infectious and catchy that I just cannot resist. Ms Pickler’s watery-weak vocals are lovingly retouched and looped so that she is in tune in this CD, so she’s listenable here. But there is no fighting the good mojo in songs like Girls Like Me, the title track, and Red High Heels. Red High Heels is especially fabulous – it’s the perfect “Sweet dreams, my darling ex-boyfriend!” kiss-off song that you can singalong with your girlfriends on a night out until you fall face-down into the beer mug and still sound good in the process. “You can watch me walk if you want to!” Ms Pickler sings with convincing defiant bravado as she straps on her best fuck-me red stilettos and gets ready to parade in town for a good time.
There are plenty of catchy songs, but oh yes, there are ballads too. My Angel is so darned heartfelt and nicely sung that I feel like writing an apology to Kellie Pickler for every mean thing I’ve said about her on American Idol. I Wonder is also a sweet song with the sweetness never bleeding over into saccharine unpleasantness.
Whoever assembled these songs for Kellie Pickler should be given a medal. These songs have teeth, sass, and verve comparable to the best stuff of Reba McEntire. These are songs that pack a punch and there is no punch that knocks out as sweetly as Red High Heels. But seriously, every remaining track also rocks out in a fine old country and pop way.