Jana Kramer’s “Thirty One” brings little new to the table

By Drew Lacouture

Staff Writer

Country singer, Jana Kramer delivers more of the same ballads and party jams on her second full length album with just as many bad tracks as there are great ones.

After her successful debut in 2012, Kramer decided to make “Thirty One” a personal album by being more involved in the song-writing process this time. What the listener gets is more charisma from Kramer with some stand out tracks, but also some of her worst, as well.

The first three tracks are all fantastic and established high hopes for the rest of the album that just could not be met afterwards.

“Boomerang” is an incredible opener with high energy lyrics and tempos.

“Don’t Touch My Radio” is a satisfying rocker where Kramer delivers some great inflections that make her performance even more convincing.

“I Got the Boy” is a smart track where Kramer sings about a man she dated in high school who is living a great life with a new woman as she draws comparisons to the relationships.

“Pop That Bottle” is where things start to go downhill. There is nothing wrong with a catchy drinking song, but knowing that Kramer is expecting a child soon and had a part in writing the song really makes the listener uncomfortable.

“Love” sounds great instrumentally, but other than that is pretty forgettable.

“Circles” and the closer “Last Song” both are decent love ballads that are structurally well put together and Kramer’s vocals on both these tracks remind the listener that she really does have a good presence on the microphone. Although the lyric, “You got me spinning like a wheel /oh how you make me feel” is lazy and cheesy.

However, there are two tracks that are both cringe worthy, it was hard not to press the skip button. “Bullet” features Areosmith’s Steven Tyler on back-up vocals and offers obnoxious electronic stutters on the chorus that are simply unbearable on an already annoying song lyrically. “Said No One Ever” sounds like an early Selena Gomez nightmare that raises the question if Kramer is 31 or 16?

“Dance In The Rain” is a mediocre track that strangely resembles Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” (not just because of the song title) with its slow tempo, bittersweet lyrics and dramatic vocals.

“Just Like The Movies” is a fun, bouncy track, including verses sounding as if they came straight out of a Taylor Swift country song. Whether this is bad or not is debatable because it seemingly works for Kramer.

There is no doubt that “Thirty One” has Jana Kramer coming more into herself and this might be both good and bad. There is most certainly a bit of enjoyment to be found on this album, but there are also several sour moments.

The album is stylistically just like every other pop-country album, and while Kramer’s singing has improved, some of her musical choices just drag the album down, along with the album’s predictable content that has been tackled to death by her contemporaries in the exact same way.

Returning fans of Kramer will enjoy the album if they can make it past “Bullet” and “Said No One Ever.” Although, those looking for a great country album may or may not find it here, while others might simply be indifferent to “Thirty One.”

The Flyer gives “Thirty One” by Jana Kramer a 5/10.

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