This record isn't a record you would call completely cohesive, but cohesiveness is overrated. If it's all good music, who cares whether it all fits together? People listen to artists on shuffle for the most part anyway, so as long there is a certain theme or element to the music running throughout all of the tracks, which there is on this record, then there really isn't a problem. Acoustic guitar is prevalent on every track of this record, reminiscent of her rootsy-pop mixtape titled Heartforward that she released back in 2011. It does weave all the tracks together and emphasizes how real Cam strives to be with her music. She's brutally honest in a lot of ways, and on most of the songs on this EP. She doesn't sugarcoat, with the lyrics or the production.
Upbeat is something Cam does well on this record, but ballads are her calling. This was reflected in the success of her singles, with the uptempo “My Mistake” stalling out before the Top 40, but the biggest ballad of the year, "Burning House" hit No.1 this week. This record had three ballads that stand out the most, her No. 1 hit, "Mayday," and "Village." "Mayday" was the first song that Cam wrote for this project, and is one of the best songs on the whole record. The simple, but pleasing nature of the song is spectacular, and I wouldn't rule it out for a potential next single choice for Cam. "Village" was the hardest song to write for this project, Cam said in a Twitter chat. Written in the perspective of one of her friend's deceased older brother, Cam creates this beautiful imagery of what happens when someone dies. It's a comforting song to anyone who has lost anyone, and the perspective of the song just makes it that much better.
Although Cam shines the most at the emotional tracks, sass comes out strong in "Runaway Train" and "Country Ain't Never Been Pretty." These are the two most country sounding tracks on the record. On the former track, "Runaway Train" as mentioned in my review of Cam's debut EP Welcome to Cam Country, "Cam mixes gospel influences with country rock and dance pop. This is anther song that shows Cam as an artist so well. It is another metaphor, Cam comparing her broken-hearted-self to a runaway track, aiming to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend. It's masterfully produced."
From the Dolly Parton sounding “Untamed,” the Zac Brown Band ( circa The Foundation) sound of “Hungover on Heartache” and the pop country sounds of “Want It All” and “My Mistake," Untamed covers almost all possibilities of songs that could be defined country music. Cam opens herself up to various options for the next steps in her career, and shows that she can do literally everything. The name Cam should be synonymous for perfect contemporary country music. Like Maddie & Tae's debut Start Here, Untamed is a masterful mixing of old and new, without being full pop but still having the commercial appeal of pop. It's one of the best contemporary country records of the year.
Best tracks: Mayday, Burning House, Country Ain't Never Been Pretty, Village
Throwaway tracks: none
Overall rating: 4 ½ crowns