Release Date: May 7th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- What The Stars See (feat. Karen Fairchild & Lindsay Ell)
Cassadee’s acoustic album may not be your cup of tea. In all honesty, Cassadee’s voice isn’t the strongest, but the passion and the heart behind these songs, as evidenced from the behind the songs stories on Apple Music, is I reckon more than enough for you all to take the plunge to start listening to this EP. Also, I reckon the fact that it’s just the guitar and Cassadee’s vocals, makes this project more raw and intimate- which is good as we are allowed to see Cassadee’s vulnerability a bit more. For me, the standout songs on this project are “Let Me Go”, the title track, “Counting On the Weather”, “Built This House” and “Sand Paper”; as themes of identity, cherishing the ones you love, having a solid foundation that cannot be broken, and having the strength to get up and weather storms that you might originally think are the worst imaginable; are all present amongst these heartfelt and personal 8 songs, while Cassadee’s boyfriend Sam Palladio guests on a song on backing vocals. Musically, these songs aren’t special at all. But that’s not really the point, as I personally found that this project on the whole inspired and encouraged- and for that to occur in this time of the pandemic… well that’s nothing short of miraculous.
I first heard about Cassadee Pope from… I don’t know when, but I think it must have been when a neighbouring store in the centre where our café is, regularly started playing some of her songs. “If My Heart Had a Heart”, “I Am Invincible”, “Wasting All These Tears” and “I’ve Been Good” in particular captured my attention, and since then I’ve been a fan of Cassadee’s. It’s a well known fact that Cassadee doesn’t have a particularly strong voice… however her tenacity, determination, hopefulness and positivity reminds us that she is an artist to look out for in the future- I even wrote a blog about her that you can check out. And thus as you read that as well as my review of her acoustic EP Rise And Shine; let us all dive deep into Cassadee’s latest single. It’s a collaboration with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, and singer/songwriter Lindsay Ell. The result is a song full of passion and intensity, and a track that is quickly becoming a favourite of mine!
Cassadee was previously the lead singer of rock band Hey Monday. So while Cassadee has been doing the whole ‘country’ thing for a while now, ever since she won The Voice back in 2012; it should come as no surprise (even though it somewhat did!) that “What The Stars See” is pure rock and rock goodness at its best. Similar to something Skillet or BarlowGirl or Avril Lavigne would record and sing, Cassadee doesn’t hold a candle vocally to these rock legends. But her passion and enthusiasm is overflowing here. You might have been expecting a country song, given Karen and Lindsay are firmly planted in country music. yet this out-of-the-box track works, and works well- particularly with Lindsay’s extremely hard-hitting electric guitar riffs and solos! Lyrically the song is about a break-up (as a number of mainstream pop, rock and country songs are!) and Cassadee as the persona yearning to see how her ex is coping and whether he’s moved on, yearning to see what the stars see. It’s a melancholy tune that is more sad than it sounds- and whether this is based on Cassadee’s life or Karen’s or Lindsay’s or the song just being a song and not based in reality at all; the truth of the matter is that “What The Stars See” still inspires and still resonates, reminding us that breakups of the romantic kind and of the platonic kind are a part of life, and it’s natural to wonder whether you are on someone’s mind. Whether thoughts can turn into obsessions is another matter indeed; but I believe that what this song is trying to say is that sometimes relationship can run its course, and that’s ok. sometimes friendships fade and things get awkward next time you meet. That’s ok too. Whether you get back to that place that is special is another thing entirely- but sometimes the healthiest thing is to let go and let God move in your life and move the pieces back to what He has planned for you. A song that is just as much about healing and moving on as it is about staying stuck in the past and feeling regret; there’s plenty of layers of this song… so what are you all waiting for? If Cassadee Pope’s “What The Stars See” is an indicator of how the next album will go… well then I’m in! So should you all be too. It’s about time we have a rock/country fusion album!
I was inspired to write ‘What The Stars See’ after sitting outside one night looking up at the stars, curious what their perspective might be looking down on us. It made me think back to times in my life when I had just come out of a relationship but still felt so connected to the other person. I imagined having the superpower to be among the stars and observe, from their perspective, an ex moving on with their life (or not).
RIYL: Lindsay Ell, Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Avril Lavigne, Skillet, Lauren Alaina