After a series of wallet-busting weeks, we get a brief reprieve this Tuesday, with only a couple of major releases vying for your attention. But don’t be fooled: with new stuff coming next week from Snow Patrol, John Legend, Queen, and Pink (whose red-hot smash “So What” is currently the most-played track at top 40 radio, despite being not half as fun as her instant classic “U + Ur Hand”), among many others, this week is hardly a harbinger of what’s to come. In other words, enjoy this breather while you can.
She’s had a tough climb in the near-decade since her iconic smash “I Hope You Dance” carried her to the (ultimately fleeting) Shania-level of stardom: despite its vastly underrated title track, her uneven 2002 effort Something Worth Leaving Behind was an across the board failure, having been deemed too pop for country stations to play, and vice versa; in 2005, she made a sharp U-turn back to the twangy side with the hilariously retrograde There’s More Where That Came From, and while the critical hosannas were free-flowing (deservedly so, too, especially where the devastating lead single “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” was concerned), that record likewise failed to fly off the store shelves. Now back with her sixth album Call Me Crazy, Lee Ann Womack finds herself at a peculiar career crossroads: having been supplanted in her native realm by young upstarts like Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood, it remains to be seen if Womack can downshift into the already-crowded arena of country’s elder stateswomen. (With Reba, Martina, and Trisha comfortably holding court there, and with the format still largely viewed as a man’s game, that seems far from a sure bet.) Nevertheless, Womack continues to prove herself as a vital, eternally intriguing artist, and Crazy should extend her streak of worthy efforts.