REVIEW: Lauren Alaina – Like My Mother Does

Yesterday, we reviewed this season’s American Idol, Scotty McCreery. We touched on how difficult it is to really do anything with a coronation single since they’re usually cheesy and not catchy, and the artists never have a choice on releasing it. The same could be said for runner up Lauren Alaina’s first single, “Like My Mother Does.” If you watched the finale of Idol this year, you’d remember her tearful rendition of this song that she dedicated to, of course, her mother. Unfortunately, the same emotion doesn’t make it to the studio version.

For a 16-year old young woman with her first single, her vocals are outstanding on the track. It’s not an original song for Alaina, however, as it has been recorded in the past by fellow Idol alumni Kristy Lee Cook in 2008.  Alaina’s version is far superior, which is hard to do for a cover in the first place. Her soaring vocals on “Like My Mother Does” are pure magic. If this is how strong her voice is at her age, it’s scary to think about how much she’ll improve in five years time.

The song is a tribute to her mother, and I can see the song being played at weddings, birthdays, graduations, prom and any celebration you can think of. Alaina is a mini Carrie Underwood, and her vocals are dead-on throughout the production of the single. I’ve never been a fan of any coronation song coming out of American Idol, save for Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” but Alaina’s is touching,  well done, and fights back the cheese-factor. Her song is by far the stronger of the two, and you can tell that she feels every word of the song.

The single is an easy pop-country crossover. Her style is almost identical to Underwood’s, letting her voice draw you in just before she lets it all out on the chorus. She does it perfectly, however, and it doesn’t come off as a copy-cat at all. The note she hits, and holds, around the 3:00 mark is unbelievable for someone her age, and new to the industry. It makes you wonder how she didn’t win the entire competition.

I think this was a perfect choice for Alaina. It comes across as heart felt and pulls at your heartstrings, something that Martina McBride has perfected for country radio. (McBride has actually taken the younger singer in under her wings during CMA Fest, and performed “Anyway” with her). Any nervousness Alaina may have felt over releasing her single is hidden very well in the production, and she could almost be mistaken for an industry veteran after she starts to show off her range. The production of the song is in the same vein of Rascal Flatts, Swift or Underwood where the full band kicks in at the chorus along with the vocals.

Alaina will face comparisons to Idol alumni Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood, but I disagree although I can see why. I think if she sticks to songs like this, she’ll be a younger Martina McBride.

The only thing holding this song back, yet again, is that radio might not be too eager to play it with the reality tv show stigma attached to it. It’s harder for Idol contestants to make it in the country music world, but there’s no way they can hold back someone with her vocals for long. The question she’ll need to figure out is if her album will be pop, country, or trying to mix both to keep fans on both sides content. I hope she stays country and doesn’t worry about trying to keep her pop fans happy: she’ll cross over just on talent alone.

One thing I’d love to see Alaina tackle is an acoustic track, much like Sugarland’s “Stay,” on her debut album and release that to radio. She definitely has the chomps for it. Although that wouldn’t be an easy release, I do think she could pull it off perfectly.

“Like My Mother Does” has been on the radio since late May.

8 out of 10
POTENTIAL: Top 5 Mediabase hit

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A 26 year-old Canadian girl currently living in England for a culinary career. Fell in love with country music and cooking at a young age, and looks for a way to do both.