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Lauren Alaina

Getting Good – 2020 (Universal Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina's "Getting Good" may not measure up to a traditionalist's high standards, but as a pop-country compromise, it's pretty darn good. Whether it's the fiddle running through the proving-I'm-country "In My Veins," or the banjo underpinning "Somebody Else's Problem," Alaina puts just enough country in these six songs to consistently touch twangy pleasure centers.

"Getting Good" is the EP's best song. It's about the elusive nature of finding contentment. We're always seemingly one step away from life "getting good," the lyric explains. We're not all greedy misers, but just as many of these sad folks can seemingly never attain enough wealth, a lot of us can't reach enough milestones to find true lasting happiness. Contentment is realizing life is already pretty good right now. We don't need to do more or have more to be happy; we can count our blessings and be happy right now, if we choose.

The project closes with another winner called "The Other Side," which finds Alaina imagining heaven. At 25, she's still a little young to be thinking about the afterlife, but this song - which also includes churchy choir backing vocals near the end - is nevertheless an inspiringly hopeful song.

Much of this music features straightforward country arrangements. However, "Country In Me" is a soulful, throwback-sounding song. Alaina sings it in a boss-girl, Miranda Lambert-like style. It's different sounding from the other tracks, but also a welcome change of pace.

EPs, like this one, are tough not to like. It's comprised of all meat, no fat and a pleasurable - albeit brief - listening experience.