This album reinforces that fact. Lightning Strikes is less like a full length record, and a bit more like an extended EP, despite how redundant that may sound. There are only actually seven songs, but with the addition of acoustic versions of "Echo" and "Chelsey's Boyfriend", and a work tape of "You Ain't All That". This album goes back and forth between the more teeny pop/rock tracks and the more country influenced ones. Although the lead single and many of the catchier tracks on this record are some of the former, Wilson shines on the more country oriented tracks like "Girls" and "Echo." Not surprisingly, these are the songs most reminiscent of her cover of "All You Had To Do Was Stay." "Girls" is special because it is quite similar to something Taylor Swift would have written for her first record. With acoustic country production, Wilson's vocals shine, and the personal, but universal lyrics are a peek into the beautiful lyrical ability she has. "Echo" is in another league altogether. An acoustic version of this track is included, and they are both special and incredible in their own ways. Wilson masterfully captures the essence of missing someone in a song, in a way many seasoned musicians cannot do. Vocally, Wilson sounds her most raw and beautiful on this track. Tracks like this one are the ones that will be sure to rocket Wilson into stardom. There is a vulnerability on this song not often found in modern music, but one that will connect with all music fans.
Wilson shines with the country ballads, but she also sounds amazing angry. "You Ain't All That" is a highlight because of just that. This track is a production masterpiece, meshing country with pop rock, with pop punk. The amazing this about this song is that it could be sung by Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, or Avril Lavigne and be incredible in any genre. Wilson kills it vocally, and creates a track that fans of so many different genres can all appreciate, and love.
Maddie Wilson has such a bright future. She has the pop vocals, the country flair, and the rocker attitude, all brought together masterfully on this record. From her last project, her debut EP, Wilson has gone more pop, and more rock, and has lost the fiddle. But she has also matured as a songwriter, and a singer and has come to figure out her own, unique sound. The amazing this about country music today, is that it is not limited to just one kind of music. There are so many ways to interpret country music, and Wilson does that with this record. Lightning Strikes is not completely pop, not completely country, but it is most definitely completely Maddie Wilson.
Best tracks: Echo, Girls, You Ain't All That
Throwaway tracks: Chelsey's Boyfriend
Overall rating: 4 crowns