Think of Jann Arden’s music and you think of lightweight melodic compositions. Think of producer Bob Rock and you think of classic hard rock releases by the likes of Metallica, Motley Crue and Aerosmith. Yet mix the two of them together and the result is a dynamic combination. Yes there is still a healthy dose of lightweight melodies (`I Am A Town’, `What About Me’, `You Forgot You Loved Me’) but even these tracks sizzle with vibrant arrangements that have become Rock’s production trademark. What is evident here is that Arden is singing with a renewed confidence. Her vocals are clear but powerful, her material, under Rock’s guidance is energetic and polished. Think of what Mutt Lange did for Shania Twain and you have an idea of Rock’s impact on this record. You only have to check out the opening track “Comin’ ‘Round For Us” to find Arden rocking out with catchy lyrics and a driving arrangement that is alien to her previous efforts. But the tour de force is her performance on `Hard To Be Alive’ which combines a hard rock arrangement with some sizzling country fiddle and a Beatlesque baroque middle eight. Not only does Arden’s vocal resonate on this track but her sheer power on the final notes would put The Who’s Roger Daltrey to shame. An outstanding effort by an artist celebrating her 12th studio release – who has arguably, released her best effort to date.
Comin’ ‘Round For Us, Hard To Be Alive, Counting Mercies.
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