Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up”
Songwriters: Laura Bell Bundy, Jeff Cohen and Mike Shimshack
If artists like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are pop country—a subgenre that alienates as many listeners as it attracts—then Laura Bell Bundy is showtunes country. With a background in theater and dance and a long résumé of bit parts in shows like “Veronica Mars” and “Guiding Light,” she made her biggest splash in the Broadway production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” in which she played the lead role of Elle Woods. Her perky performance, seemingly thankless after Reese Witherspoon’s original take on the character, earned Bundy a Tony nomination.
Before taking the stage with briefcase and Bruiser, however, Bundy released a little-heard country album called Longing for a Place Already Gone, and now she is readying her major-label debut called Achin’ & Shakin’. So, while some may object to the notion that she can slip in and out of “country” like it’s just another costume change, at least she brings a unique set of skills and values to Nashville, even if her genre hybrid sounds overstaged and underthought on “Giddy On Up.” The single—her first—was debuted as a music video before being released to radio, which is the reverse of the normal strategy and suggests the song is mostly an excuse to make a heavily choreographed mini-movie.
Projecting “downhome” to the cheap seats, “Giddy On Up” is another anthem about a man caught cheatin’ and a woman givin’ him the boot. That’s well-trod territory, and Bundy doesn’t do much with it, aside from adding stagey horns to the chorus and dropping in a reference to Bath & Body Works. She’s playing Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn here, but as determinedly as she tries to convey sass and attitude, even her tsk-tsking asides and yeehaws sound scripted and well rehearsed. Ultimately, “Giddy On Up” is more about archetypes than real characters, so Bundy’s performance is consequently and fatally broad.
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