Katie Armiger, ‘Fall Into Me’ – Album Review
Katie Armiger's new album, 'Fall Into Me,' features 14 songs that describe love's highs and lows. It's a rollercoaster ride that at times feels like that line from Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,' i.e., "I say 'I hate you,' we break up, you call me, 'I love you.'" Fortunately, Armiger's way with words is more debonair.
The singer helped write each track, but not all come from her personal experiences. She describes the album as the diary of her last two years, but some of the stories are borrowed from close friends. In fact, many of the highlights find the singer one step removed from the action.
'He's Gonna Change' is a song about someone a friend dated. The song opens the album and sets the bar high for the 13 tracks that follow. Producer Chad Carlson is at his best when working with Armiger to give her polished pop sound just the slightest bit of edge.
The chorus is one fans will delight having burrowed between their ears:
"He's gonna change / When that sun up in the sky starts pouring rain / When the stars come out in the middle of the day / And the oceans turn to dust, go on and pray," the 21-year-old sings.
There isn't a moment on 'Fall Into Me' when Armiger tries to outthink her all too familiar emotions. She strings stories together in a pleasant way without finding it necessary to cram them with complex poetry. "I don't understand what she's talking about," said no one ever when speaking about a Katie Armiger song. It's a compliment and a statement to her credibility as a mainstream country artist.
'Playin' With Fire' and the single, 'Better in a Black Dress,' are two others that find an edge to separate this singer from the rest of country music. A few never get there. The intensely personal 'Man I Thought You Were' is well-written, but as a vocalist, Armiger blends in like Coffee-Mate. 'Black and White' finds her struggling with whether to split from a lover. It's the most traditional arrangement on this record, with the banjo and steel guitar taking center stage around a flat story.
With 14 songs, there are bound to be a few dull spots on 'Fall Into Me.' That's too many for an album that doesn't include much variance in the topics, and by the time the rollercoaster goes back up and down on 'Not Too Late' and 'So Long,' one could find themselves looking to hop off.
There are gems after the halfway point -- 'Cardboard Boxes' is the sneaky, clever wraparound type song that radio loves -- and many will appreciate the overwhelming sense of optimism the singer retains despite her struggles. Armiger should be proud of this effort because more than anything else, it defines her sound in the minds of fans -- and more importantly, those who didn't know her previously.