Acoustic this is supposed to be, but acoustic it is not, especially on the most poppy tracks. “Gimme the Beat” is not acoustic at all, and not country at all either. Catchy, but not country. Vocally, Lane sounds the weakest here, maybe a sign that she shouldn't be singing songs as pop as this one. “Millennials” is the lowest of low points on this record. Lane doesn't sound bad, her vocals are actually quite good. But the lyrics are incredibly cheesy and seem like they have depth, but are about how people these days stare at their phone screens all day. There's good intention behind it, but it wasn't executed well. There's no real plot to the song, and seems just poorly thought out. It's rare to say that about a song, but this time I am.
Guilty pleasures come in the form of the pop country tracks “Hard to Get” and “Steal Me Away.” The former is a song that is just addicting. It throws back to some 2012 Taylor Swift, with "She said you said I said we were gonna go out / are we gonna go out?" Pop is the core of the song, and the lyrics aren't amazing, but they're catchy, and will appeal to younger country fans for sure. "Steal Me Away" is one of three tracks that were released on iTunes before this mixtape was released (along with "You Part 2" and "Mama Raised Hell"). Again, it's a light song, but one of the more country songs, and well written and produced, in both the acoustic and studio version.
Lane struggles to find her sound on this mixtape. There are songs that are quite good, and show off her twangy, powerful vocals while still emphasizing her talent as a songwriter. Those songs are the country songs, and include songs like “Home in the Headlights,” “Mama Raised Hell,” and “Steal Me Away.” But there are also songs in which she's pitchy too often, especially on the pure pop songs. She's playing with different genres, and while she seems to have the lot fun on he pop songs, country songs more are meaningful to her. The key is to find pop songs that mean something, and country songs that are fun without being bro country. Olivia Lane has the vocals chops and the producer (Ilya Toshinsky) to go either in the pop or country direction , so it will be interesting to see where she takes her music in the future.
Best tracks: Mama Raised Hell, Home in the Headlights, Hard To Get, Steal Me Away
Throwaway tracks: Millennials, Gimme the Beat
Overall rating: 3 crowns