Corinne Cook is a contemporary country singer who puts heartbreak to tune with her godly pipes in her recent album, Dressed Up For Goodbye. The album is unhurried in its pace, aiming to sink its teeth into its recurrent themes;with its deceptively snazzy vocals, instrumentals that strike a chord to lyrics that occasionally hit its mark, and how.
The opening track, Little Miss Understanding bursts of pop, though the singer’s vocals carry a distinctive country twang. It sounds very upbeat, which adds a very empowering twist to her “little” tragedy. “How could you look me in the eye/ while feeding me a bunch of lines,” Cook croons, her voice is so full of manufactured sass, she could be singing about anything.Dirty Little Secret, in a similar vein, aims to please with itsfeisty bubblegum-pop vibe, so full of cutesy angst. The only place where Cook’s attempts to sound breezy works is Turning Off the World. The song is very relatable and well done, it tempts you to turn off the world yourself.
Who opens with heart tugging instrumentals that sound deliberately under-produced.It picks up volume and polish soon enough, but by then, you’re already hooked. Cook’s vocals hit the right places while carrying a hint of yearning, but also sound curiously…tired, as though she’s gone through the emotions one too many times. I’d put it on replay just for the opening.Dressed Up For Goodbye goes a step further in expressing devastation, painting an all too familiar picture. In fact, the lyrics echo the album’s cover art, making you no stranger to the space (and state) Cook is describing.Fall Apart goes a step further, if it’s even possible, where the singer stops prettying up her distress. Her voice is plaintive here, stripped bare of its sheen as she acknowledges, in a way you can feel in your bones that “everybody falls apart.”
He Loves Her Like Crazy has disturbingly layered lyrics; lyrics that vividly describe an unhealthy and abusive relationship, what makes it so hard to stay or go. It walks you through its complexities without flinching. Unlike the previous tracks, this song is anything but simple or safe. It goes beyond the surface, with lines like “he loves her like crazy/knocks her off her feet” sounding frothy but having darker, more meaningful undertones. Lord Have Mercy is quieter but just as powerful. While the title of the track sounds out of place compared to the rest of the album, it does tie in; putting the singer on the road to recovery.
I Don’t, twinkly background score and all, is a fairytale at a standstill. Cook and singer-Paul Scott intermingle vocals in this duet…completing each other’s thoughts; too bad each assumes their love for the other is too much to risk coming to full terms with. The band version of the song is heavier on instrumentation; I personally preferred the rawness of the original.
Long Before Goodbye feels like a full circle from the title track, Dressed Up for Goodbye; backing up the latter with new insights. Cowboy was slower and sweeter than I expected it to be. The vocals match its intensity; it feels like the singer has, already, come a long way since Little Miss Understanding. On the whole, the album is more country-ish than country, but is a thorough exploration of heartache. While it was perhaps a little too dressed up and falsely chipper at places for my taste, it’s clear that the singer has a lot of potential.