LeAnn Rimes – “Crazy Women”
Songwriters: Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon, and Shane McAnally
“Crazy Women” starts out like a long drag on a cigarette – followed by a calculated, heated exhale.
And what an exhale it is. If Trent Tomlinson’s “Angels Like Her” had the best opening line of 2009, LeAnn Rimes inherits this year’s title with her new single: “Who’d have guessed that Aquanet/Could start a fire with a single cigarette?”
From there, a banjo plucks away furiously in the background as the singer combines a breathy back story with belted-out accusations, creating a varied springboard for her exceptional voice. Sarcasm and mockery drip off every note, pooling up into satisfyingly biting lines such as “Well he cheats and lies and then plays the victim/He don’t know why they always seem to pick him.”
The song’s peak comes near its end, when the pronouns switch from “they” to “we” and “she” to “me.” Rimes shows off her powerful vocal prowess in a single, controlled note that expertly reflects her warning that many women nimbly keep “their crazy hidden.” That same sweet slickness, however, has often been Rimes’ own undoing, and it’s no exception here. The whole – ahem – affair has the air of a splashy, song-and-dance show tune that will lend itself better to television than radio.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that the song’s topic hits close to home for the singer, whose personal life has overshadowed her musical career over the past year amidst tabloid reports of affairs and divorces. Her own misadventures in love and brushes with ex-wives aside, the song’s decidedly female point of view will be an interesting contrast to Rimes’ take on the testosterone-fueled material on her upcoming covers project Lady and Gentlemen. “Crazy Women” will also serve as the only “new” song off the album, which will sample country standards by male singers such as Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Merle Haggard.
Despite those legends’ shadows looming over the album, “Crazy Women” is a successful, stylish thinking woman’s tale of revenge that holds up well despite its surface glitz. While it won’t dethrone Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” as the modern theme song of women scorned, it’s a nice demonstration of how the 28-year-old Rimes has been a player in the music industry for the last decade and a half.
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