Bailee Rainwater is a badass rocker chick hidden behind radio friendly pop country production. She has a circa 2004 Avril Lavigne attitude covered up by Taylor Swift/Kelsea Ballerini-esqe production. Her lyrics are blunt and to the point, most easily shown in "Crutch" and "Cool." In the former song, Rainwater begins the track with "You wanna kiss me in the hallway at my apartment / but you don't wanna be tied down / hey you're just being honest / you wanna come upstairs / and unbutton my jeans / but you don't wanna be mine / you just wanna have me." She's straightforward, and slightly crude, but honest. It is a position of girl power that many don't take. Kelsea Ballerini did a bit, in "Love Me Like You Mean It," but Rainwater outshines her by being more straight up about it: she doesn't want to just be the person he leans on, she wants to find someone who can actually love her. (Watch the music video for "Crutch" here.)
The latter song, "Cool," could be set to booming guitars and sung by a rock and roll star, with just a little bit of twang. There is the obvious teenage country influence with "like you don't get too drunk call me up / saying 'I still love you, you're the one,'" but there's a cockiness to this song that doesn't often show up in country music. However, the rock and roll influence is more easily explained on this one, because of the co-writer, Kalie Shorr, who also has definite rock and roll influences in her music. Pop country is known traditionally as a way to get the younger pop-loving generation into country music. But for Rainwater, it's just a way to express the inner rocker inside of her.
"Gasoline" is more her, with the descriptive and outstanding lyrics. The mention of gasoline throws back in the definite country influence, as it is often forgotten throughout this EP.
The one downfall to this EP is the excessive amount of editing on Rainwater's vocals. Most prominent on the verses of "Gasoline" and the bridge of "Cool," these effects add an interesting change of pace to the tracks, but also more pop influence on the EP. In "Cool," they seem more necessary than in "Gasoline," but still, any major vocal effects tend to interrupt the flow of a song and question the amount of vocal talent an artist truly has. Luckily in Rainwater's case, she doesn't completely overdo these effects so it is obvious that she does have amazing vocals, even though she does occasionally tweak them.
Rainwater shines on this EP when she speaks exactly what she's feeling. She's blunt, and country music needs that sort of bluntness right now. She has the pop influence, but also the country roots and storytelling. She has the teenage appeal, but also the maturity that could appeal to people much older than her. Watch out Taylor Swift and Kelsea Ballerini: Bailee Rainwater is going to be the next women to claim pop country stardom.
Best tracks: Crutch, Cool
Throwaway tracks: none
Overall rating: 4 crowns