After what seems like a very long time, Cassadee Pope has finally dropped her second studio album, titled stages. This album follows up her 2013 debut album Frame By Frame which was released following her win from the third season of the US version of The Voice.
Cassadee Pope has been in the music industry for over a decade, launching with her band, Hey Monday, in her early years, before they went on hiatus and she decided to compete on the third season of the US version of The Voice – which she won. Following that, she released a few singles and a debut album. She’s been steadily building herself a career in the country music world, which certainly isn’t easy for female artists, and this latest album just proves that she’s a staple of female country and with a Grammy nomination under her belt, thanks to a collaboration with Chris Young on the song “Think Of You”, Cassadee Pope is set to become a country music legend.
Speaking about the album in her newsletter, Cassadee Pope said:
I’ve gone through many life stages over the past two years, and during this time, the best way I knew how to untangle all the emotions I was feeling was to put them into songs.
Before I knew it, I had accumulated a collection of songs – some I had written, and others sent to me – which when put together told a story of this moment in my life and how I came out on the other side of it all.
My biggest hope with “Stages” is that some of you will be able to relate and it will help you through these stages too.
This album is one of our favourite releases of this year and we just had to write up a track-by-track review of the album, especially since it has been five-and-a-bit years since her debut album was released.
Take You Home
Opening track is her debut single from this album, “Take You Home”, which was officially released at the start of 2018. It’s an unforgettable country track that deserves to go down in history and reminisces the listener to her previously released EP, Summer, as it sounds like it’s a song that was left out from that EP. It’s groovy and soulful, with Cassadee Pope impressing on the vocals from start to finish as she starts us off on the journey of this album.
One More Red Light
Second song, and second single from the album, “One More Red Light” runs perfectly well after “Take You Home”. It’s a tuneful song that really paints a story of being in the car with someone you like, wishing that every red light turned on so that you spend more time with that person. We’ve all been in situations where we want to spend as much time with that one person. This song relates to so many people and Cassadee Pope fuels the track with so much emotion that you can tell she means every single word.
How I Feel Right Now
This one has a heart-pounding twist to the song, with Cassadee Pope easily adding the butterflies feeling you feel when you’re falling for someone. There are some adorable lyrics that will certainly bring a smile to your face. This female artist certainly takes us to cloud nine with this album, alone, that’s just how we feel right now.
Bring Me Down Town
The story behind this track reminds us of the Chris Young duet “Think Of You”. She’s gone into a different stage with this track, dealing with a break-up; only she doesn’t want to feel sorry for herself, she’s done that, instead she’s fuelling with fire and attitude prepared to fight back. It’s rhythmically upbeat and has a brilliant pop-country sound that reminds us of Lady Antebellum.
If My Heart Had A Heart
Once again, Cassadee Pope shines in a song about broken hearts; we’ll never forget her earlier song “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart”. This hits us in the feels as she puts her all in this track, stating that if her heart had a heart, it would give her some mercy. It’s a stunning track, that deserves to become a heartbreak treasured song, and we’re not surprised it was chosen as the third single from the album; it’s definitely a stand-out track. Truly unforgettable.
Continuing on with the break-up story line but suggesting time has expanded, the song is aimed at the lover of an ex-boyfriend and acts as part of the recovery process of the break-up. It’s a relaxing country and R’n’B song that is soulful. We love how she’s included a “Sorry, not sorry” in the lyrics, sang as a thought which is then taken back.
Fading into a new stage, “Distracted” is an incredible track that many will identify with as we’ve all fallen for someone who completely distracts us. It’s an upbeat pop-country song that we are fully loving, and we can imagine a brilliant music video to this – Cassadee Pope, please make this the next single! It’s an addicting song that we can’t get enough of, it’s definitely distracted us.
Now this is far out of what we expected, a purely instrumental track with no reasoning behind it, even the title doesn’t help much, and the snippet of “F Minor” before the piano kicks in, doesn’t help either; but, after some research “Gavi” is short for Jason Gaviati, one of Cassadee Pope’s closest friends who passed away in 2015 at age 38. He was a pianist, so it’s only right that this is a piano tribute track and it’s quite possible that this is one of his pianos that Cassadee Pope recorded on; not only that, but imagine if this song is something he was working on before he passed away, or it could be something he tossed to the side. The story behind the track is not fully known, and we may never quite know more about it apart from it being a tribute to him, and what a tribute it is.
Don’t Ask Me
Nearing the end of the album now and we sift into another stage. Again, she sings about her ex, as she still has feelings for him and they just won’t go away, but she doesn’t want him to know that. It’s a heart-filled track because she’s still hurting throughout the lyrics, and that is clear. It’s got a more country-rock vibe to it, not quite Hey Monday but those days are gone.
Still Got It
Smoothly rolling on from “Don’t Ask Me”, this penultimate song “Still Got It” is about meeting up with her ex and still having feelings for him. That sort of love never goes away and it’s an open and honest track from Cassadee Pope as she paints a story of this incredible meet up.
I’ve Been Good
The final track on the album continues on the story as she says she’s been good at distracting herself as she’s still hurting inside. We’ve all been there, holding everything inside and even though it’s not healthy, we never listen. This is a raw track that ends this album off perfectly, with brilliant vocals and effortless emotion. Cassadee Pope sure knows how to hit us in the feels.
This album is an emotional rollercoaster, taking us on a complete journey in every way. Cassadee Pope has flooded her all into this as she showcases the rise and fall of love and heartbreak, drawing on recent experiences. It’s passionate, emotional, and honest. This is one album we’d happily play on repeat for the rest of the week.
stages, by Cassadee Pope, is now available to stream and download on all platforms, via Awake Music records. We wonder which song she’ll choose as her next single – we’re hoping for “Distracted”.