Charlotte Alden

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Collected (152)
Playlists (4)
Tracks (36)
Narratives (15)
Videos (36)
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Artists (43)
Albums (18)
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Contribution (160)
Kacey Musgraves (30)
Julia Michaels (20)
Kelsea Ballerini (20)
Lennon Stella (10)
Maren Morris (10)
Julia Michaels (feat. Selena Gomez) (10)
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Biography (87)
Biography (1)
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Following (82)

TRACKLIST

Collected by ”@charlottealden”

NARRATIVES

Written by “@charlottealden”

Playing the Bro-Country Game: Kelsea Ballerini’s The First Time

I recently read ­­­­­Waking Up In Nashville, a book published in 2002 by British travel writer Stephen Foehr­­. He came to Nashville and navigated the scene from an outsider’s perspective and expertly delved into the idea of ‘what is country music.’ This was in the early 2000s, so the traditional country fan’s anger was directed at pop-country stars like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. But the overwhelming consensus from the dozens of people he interviewed is that country music isn’t pretty. It isn’t happy endings and perfect nights. It’s real life. At the time that ­­Foehr wrote this book, Alan Jackson had recently released his song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” a song about the horrors of the September 11 attacks. Country music tackled this issue in a way no other genre did and that’s what country music always does. Country music goes into the gritty details of real life like no other genre, and that’s the reason that so many people love the genre so much. But when a ‘country’ artist releases album that has very little real life and a lot of picture-perfect high school life, it’s hard to connect that record with the heart and soul of country music. Kelsea Ballerini’s debut record The First Time doesn’t really match up to the roots of country music, but did blow up the country music scene in 2015.

Jun 28, 2019

Pageant Material: Kacey Musgraves at Her Most Mainstream

No matter how many times I listen to this album, I’m always surprised by how little I learn about Kacey Musgraves as a person. For an album that on the surface seems fairly personal, it’s remarkably impersonal. It’s called Pageant Material, a satirical title in that Musgraves clearly emphasizes that she will never be ‘pageant material.’ But while you learn what Musgraves isn’t, you never truly learn what she is. But I think that’s okay. It’s essential to recognize that we hold country musicians who are male and female to very different standards when it comes to sharing their personal lives in their songs. Musicians who happen to be female are more expected to write as if they’re writing in their diary. I wouldn’t say this started with Taylor Swift, but she definitely elevated the presence of this expectation. Their songs have to be about their lives and their struggle. This is also a theme in all kinds of writing, where women are often expected to put a disproportioned amount of their life into their writing compared to men. Why do we not hold men to the same standard? Why do we look at Blake Shelton and say that it’s totally okay for him to sing songs that don’t relate to his life, yet we look at Kacey Musgraves and expect her to bare her soul in every song? Anyways, I just put my own feelings on blast, but that’s a pretty good description of how I feel about this album. It’s confusing, but also makes complete sense. It’s personal, but impersonal. It’s a contradiction in itself, making it a fascinating album to listen to closely and attempt to critically analyze.

Jun 14, 2019

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About

“@charlottealden”

Country and folk music obsessed, writer of many words. I grew up on Dixie Chicks, obsess every day over boygenius and Phoebe Bridgers, and will likely die on the Taylor Swift train.

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