Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up”

Stephen Deusner | February 17th, 2010

laura-bell-bundySongwriters: 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.

Thumbs Down

  1. Marc
    February 17, 2010 at 8:08 am

    showtunes? haha.. that video is 100% aguilera/spears pop.

    I was flipping channels the other day and came across the video, the sound was low so I figured I’d hit on some random VH1 pop video or similar. Imagine my surprise when I saw the CMT logo in the corner (I know! CMT playing videos!! *nyuk*). Instinct kicked in and I had to turn the volume up and take in this train wreck. How awful.. a full on pop video that makes the Hooters girls look like nuns… playing with some overdone twang “lyrics”.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the line. Maybe it’s the beginning. But it certainly can’t be my stop.

    I for one now fully admit that Taylor and Carrie are country. I’d like to see the rest of you follow suit just so that we can derail this disaster as soon as possible and come to the wide agreement that this is Pop.

    Once the rest of her 15 minutes are over, we can resume our previous positions.

    That is all.

  2. Stormy
    February 17, 2010 at 8:29 am

    If you admit Taylor and Carrie are country this is the music you get.

  3. sam (sam)
    February 17, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I like the idea of “showtunes country,” and I’d love to see some actors playing country singers muscle their way into country radio.

  4. Stormy
    February 17, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Can we trade her for Colin Farrell?

    Actually, Broadway stars doing country and vice versa is nothing new. Reba is the most famous, but we also had Gary Morris.

  5. Sam G.
    February 17, 2010 at 8:58 am

    If you’ve seen the video and what she’s wearing, you can understand why it came first.

    As for the song, it’s surprisingly catchy, in an “Achey Breaky” kind of a way. Whether that’s good or terrifying is left up the the individual.

  6. Leeann Ward
    February 17, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Sam G said: “As for the song, it’s surprisingly catchy, in an “Achey Breaky” kind of a way. Whether that’s good or terrifying is left up the the individual.”

    Ditto. I’ve decided that the song’s not for me, but it is catchy and interesting and I listened to it a few times before arriving at the decision. I’m sure every part of it was scripted, as the review takes issue with, but I don’t mind that myself.

  7. waynoe
    February 17, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Wilcox – Coldwater Jane – DOWN
    Deusner – Todd Jones – DOWN
    Malec – Fast Ryde – DOWN
    Boldt – Katie Armiger – DOWN
    Gazdziak – Jo Dee Messina – DOWN
    Justus – Taylor Swift – DOWN
    Thanki – Jewel – DOWN
    Boldt – Lady Antebellum – DOWN
    Wilcox – Craig Morgan – UP
    Justus – Alan Jackson – UP
    Gazdziak – Emily West – UP
    Boldt – Reba McEntire – UP
    Deusner – Carter’s Chord – DOWN
    Justus – Danny Gokey – DOWN
    Thanki – David Nail – DOWN
    Boldt – Martina McBride – UP
    Justus – Trace Adkins – DOWN
    Boldt – David Ball – UP
    Thanki – Brandi Carlile – Up
    Justus – Sammy Kershaw – UP
    Malec – Jaron Lowenstein – UP
    Justus – Jimmy Wayne – DOWN
    Wilcox – Tyler Dickerson – UP
    Boldt – Jason Aldean – DOWN
    Thanki – Kenny Chesney – DOWN
    Deusner – Laura Bell Bundy – DOWN

    Current tally (Down – 16 / UP – 10)

    By the way, this is a running tally and does not reflect my personal critique of each critic’s assessment. FYI only.

  8. Paul W Dennis
    February 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

    This song really isn’t all that terrible, at least not on the cosmic scale of awfulness.

    If you truly want to hear a shipwreck of an album, you should hear the early 1970s Webb Pierce-Carol Channing collaboration on Plantation. I’m pretty Channing, a major movie and stage star, was overdubbed onto some existing Webb Pierce recordings because I cannot image Pierce not strangling Channing if they were both in the studio at the same time

  9. Rick
    February 17, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I don’t care for the song but I do love to watch the video with the sound turned off! Laura is one fine looking woman and if she loves to dance around in skimpy outfits, well I’m okay with that…(lol)

    If Laura attracts Kristin Chenoweth into country music to create similar music videos, well I’m okay with that as well! (lol)

  10. Bobby P.
    February 17, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Brass sections are so underappreciated in country music.

  11. sam (sam)
    February 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I also have no problem with Laura Bell Bundy dancing around in skimpy outfits. In fact, I encourage it. In fact, I think willingness to dance around in skimpy outfits should be a requirement of any country singer that wants success on mainstream radio. It makes the music a lot more entertaining and that is what this is – entertainment.

  12. Brady Vercher
    February 17, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    The last time I checked, radio wasn’t a visual format.

  13. Rick
    February 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Laura Bell Bundy is a breath of fresh air, and I find these criticisms surprising. Especially, when they come from a site that typically rips on artists like Taylor Swift for being too pop. This IS country. Her music IS country. Those who say her voice is too “over the top”, need to consider the likes of Dolly Parton and other greats. Don’t make yourself hypocrites.

  14. Paul W Dennis
    February 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Rick ???? !!!!

  15. Brady Vercher
    February 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    It’s a different Rick.

  16. Paul W Dennis
    February 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Thank God ! I thought the world was about to end or something similarly awful

  17. Nicolas
    February 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I love this song! The song, and in particular the video, is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in awhile =) At times, it reminds me a little of Kellie Pickler

  18. Felipe
    February 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Speaking of Kristin Chenoweth, have anyone listened to her version of The Song Remembers When? Gosh, it’s terrible!

  19. stormy
    February 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Paul: Maybe Webb WAS strangling Channing. Maybe that’s why it sounded so bad.

    Rick: Eh, I heard Kristen Chenowith cover Lasst Name on Glee and it wasn’t that great.

  20. Dan E.
    February 18, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Kristen Chenowith is a wonderful vocalist. She sounds incredible in “Wicked”. The Glee episode that she was in was one of Glee’s best episodes. She was great with “Alone” and “Maybe This Time”. “Last Name” was a whole lot of fun as well.

  21. gil
    February 18, 2010 at 12:51 am

    this is pathetic! you guys think Carrie Underwood is country? that robot cant even attempt to dance like Laura, come on just watch that pathetic cowboy casanova crap she is as stiff as a board. At least Laura can move and didnt need now american crydol to get her noticed. she is at least a throwback to dolly!

  22. Steve M.
    February 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

    What is american crydol?

  23. Jeff P
    February 18, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I agree with Nicolas I love the video and I like the song both are fun and funny. Country music needs more fun than all the seriousness that is promoted here. OK so it isnt the House that Built me, but who wants to listen to serious songs all the time? We need laughter to round our lives.

  24. Stormy
    February 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

    GIL: Country is a style of SINGING, not Dance.

  25. Matt C.
    February 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    But she’s a hottie!

  26. Steve Harvey
    February 18, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Who cares if she’s hot? All young female country singers are hot – Carrie Underwood is hot, Miranda Lambert is hot, Whitney Duncan is hot, Julianne Hough is hot, etc.
    It’s the music industry, not the modeling industry. An artist should have more to offer than a pretty smile and nice boobs.

  27. Kaitlyn
    February 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so rude before.

    Laura is amazing, and for those who say that the song is awful, you obviously don’t know your country. Do your research.

  28. stormy
    February 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Kaitlyn: For this research should I listen to my Hank Williams cds or my Loretta Lynn cds?

  29. sam (sam)
    February 19, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I think people should demand the whole package in a country singer: a good voice, and in Steve Harvey’s words “a pretty smile and nice boobs,” and also, good songs. Good songs are important too.

  30. merlefan49
    February 19, 2010 at 9:12 am

    In the words of Doug Sahm “Oh no not another one”

  31. Brady Vercher
    February 19, 2010 at 10:53 am

    You’re entitled to your opinion and no offense meant, sam (sam), but your country music wish list reads like an exceptionally bad nightmare.

  32. sam (sam)
    February 19, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I see no reason why it is a nightmare to wish that performers be both vocally talented, have good songs, and also be attractive. That’s not a nightmare to me, thats a good dream.

    And as for my show tunes wish, that is not a nightmare either. Lara Bell Bundy’s current song is a lot better than at least half of the current stuff on mainstream radio; I suspect that most broadway performers could be more entertaining than most performers found by music labels, anyway.

    I know show tunes get a bad rap but I loved seeing Broadway musicals when I lived in Manhattan. I like them at least as much as country and I would love to see more Laura Bell Bundy types and Less Easton Corbin types. Maybe that’s a nightmare to some, and I respect that. But to me, it would be good.

  33. Sam G.
    February 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Sam (Sam), did you intentionally put good songs last in your list of things things country singer should have?

  34. Brady Vercher
    February 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I see no reason why it is a nightmare to wish that performers be both vocally talented, have good songs, and also be attractive. That’s not a nightmare to me, thats a good dream.

    No, that’s not a nightmare, but there’s a huge difference between that and thinking that a willingness to dance around in skimpy outfits should be a requirement of any singer that wants mainstream radio success.

    I don’t know if you watched the Grammy’s, but pop music is everything you described and there’s no reason for country to become a clone.

  35. sam (sam)
    February 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    This is just my personal opinion of course, but for me the music really is just a small part of the entertainment package. Looks are really important and when the song calls for a skimpy costume the entertainer should be willing to wear one in my mind. So I think it should be required. I want my entertainers to be attractive as well as talented. Much of what they sell is sex appeal, anyhow, and I’d prefer them to actually be sexy.

    And I like country but I also like pop. In fact, I think the best country is the pop-country. I don’t think country needs to be an exact clone of pop but I do think mainstream country would be a lot better with more pop values added to the mix.

  36. Razor X
    February 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I think people should demand the whole package in a country singer: a good voice, and in Steve Harvey’s words “a pretty smile and nice boobs,” and also, good songs. Good songs are important too.

    What’s really disturbing about this statement is the fact that “good songs” are mentioned almost as an afterthought. Shouldn’t good songs take priority over smiles and boobs where a singer is concerned? There are plenty of places where pretty smiles and good boobs can be found; good music is not as easy to find these days.

  37. stormy
    February 19, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I am just curious as to what defines “good boobs” on a male singer?

  38. Jon
    February 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I don’t know if you watched the Grammy’s, but pop music is everything you described and there’s no reason for country to become a clone

    Funny you should mention that, Brady. I watched the Grammys, or a good chunk of the show anyhow, and was mostly struck by how far even the most pop-influenced country is from pop music.

  39. stormy
    February 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    They play Taylor and Lady Gaga on the same channels in my town and she doesn’t sound out of place.

  40. Brady Vercher
    February 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I wasn’t saying they’re equatable, Jon, and would agree with you that there’s a decent sized chasm between current pop music and pop-country, but I don’t think that negates anything I said if that’s what you’re insinuating.

  41. Razor X
    February 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I am just curious as to what defines “good boobs” on a male singer?

    Boobs are never good on a male.

  42. Steve M.
    February 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    So I have been operating under the delusion that Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are talented, but because they aren’t attractive, they really aren’t?

  43. stormy
    February 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I don’t know. Apparently we’d need to see Merle in a push up bra.

  44. Steve Harvey
    February 19, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    And f*ck-me pumps.

  45. stormy
    February 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Hee:
    Here’s one for you Steve http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJhl1xQENpY

  46. Steve Harvey
    February 20, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I love Amy Winehouse! Someone should cut a country version of ‘Back to Black’.

  47. Emgee
    February 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

    For once I gotta agree with the9513. This song is just plain annoying.

    Congrats, 9513. You finally got one right.

  48. Cindy
    February 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I am relatively new to country, though I guess I lean more to pop-country. What makes a singer country? Is it the twang, the choice of songs, something about the voice or the instrumentals? I see all the traditionalist railing against Carrie Underwood and I wonder why. I don’t particularly like her choice of songs, but I do think she has a nice voice. What makes her not country?

  49. merlefan49
    February 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Someone has called Laura Bell Bundy “A breath of fresh air for country music”

    I say more like smog :D

  50. merlefan49
    February 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

    @Cindy,

    I have no real problem calling Carrie Underwood pop country. To answer your question please watch these videos. These two ladies are the best in true country music Amber Digby and Miss Leslie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWW33JCgxRo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx6-FasRaNM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjN5CDNPDDI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxPFpD1JIWE

  51. merlefan49
    February 27, 2010 at 9:15 am

    @Cindy,

    You hit some of the points in your post as to why Carrie is not country but is pop country. For me a country song needs to be striped down

  52. stormy
    February 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Cindy: What makes a person a traditionalist? I don’t think Carrie sounds remotely country, but you would have a hard time defining me as a traditionalist.

  53. Michelle
    February 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Giddy On Up is corny to me, but I can see where men probably get off on watching the video.

  54. Vicki
    February 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    What about Carrie’s Temporary Home? Not much pop country in that one.

  55. Thomas
    February 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    …perhaps that makes this schmalz almost unbearable to listen to. four minutes or so of temporary horror.

  56. stormy
    February 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Vicki: There’s not much country to the pop in any of Carrie’s music.

  57. Cindy
    March 3, 2010 at 10:04 am

    So no one has really answered me – why is Carrie not country?

  58. merlefan49
    March 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    @Cindy,

    What do you think Carrie is country is a better question.

  59. stormy
    March 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Cindy: Because there is not really a perceptible difference between Carrie Underwood and Celine Dion.

  60. Jon
    March 3, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    And yet millions upon millions of people routinely distinguish between the two. Why are your powers of perception so different from theirs, Stormy?

  61. stormy
    March 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I have superpowers.

  62. Steve M.
    March 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Invisibility or the power to command sea creatures?

  63. Jon
    March 4, 2010 at 6:38 am

    The inability to perceive what others can perceive doesn’t seem like much of a superpower. More like the opposite.

  64. Stormy
    March 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Steve: Weirdly enough I have the power to tell traffic lights to change and they do. True story.

    Jon: My special superpower allows me to read ALL OF THE WORDS IN A POST. You might try developing that one.

  65. Jon
    March 4, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Stormy: I read ALL THE WORDS IN YOUR POST. An inability to detect differences plainly perceptible to millions of other people is not a superpower, and neither is an inflated ego.

  66. merlefan49
    March 21, 2010 at 11:41 am
  67. Michelle
    March 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Pick your tongue up off the floor!

  68. merlefan49
    March 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    My tongue is not on the floor. That was without a doubt the worst Tina Tuner impression I’ve ever seen. btw I’m not a guy.

  69. Michelle
    March 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Sorry, didn’t know. I assumed some guy was really enjoying it, my bad! Yeah, it was sucky to me too!

  70. merlefan49
    March 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Why would the word ouch mean I’m enjoying it? I meant ouch that was bad.

  71. Michelle
    March 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Look, I said “I’m sorry and it was my bad!” I use to say, “ouchy” all the time(meaning good)!!

  72. merlefan49
    March 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    No offense taken

  73. Pryce
    April 12, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    This song sucks so incredibly bad. The music video is downright annoying. I’ve never hit a girl before but this bimbo’s attempt at being sassy tempts me. God I just had that face she makes when she sings the chorus!!! Ugh I have to watch this abortion played hourly on CMT!!!!!

  74. denver
    April 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    well i think that this is one of the best songs ive head in a while :)

  75. courtney
    May 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I always feel like I’m listening to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” whenever I hear this song.

  76. Leeann Ward
    May 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Ha. Good point.

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