LeAnn Rimes parted way with Curb Record shortly after the release of her eleventh studio album, Spitfire, back in 2013. Having received critical acclaim for the most personally charged release to date, the album had seen Rimes veer away from the commercial country sound that had defined her back catalogue to break free as an artist in control of her own creative vision. Boasting the fiery Spitfire, the raw Borrowed and a rather irrepressible cover of Gasoline & Matches. Since breaking free from Curb Records, Rimes has bought time to develop her sound by releasing two vocally impressive Christmas collections (an EP and an album), before announcing that she has signed with Sony Records UK for her thirteenth studio album, Remnants.
Rather than introduce fans to her new sound with an original song, Rimes interestingly selected a cover of Brandi Carlile’s 2007 hit The Story. With the Phil Hanseroth penned song having proved popular upon it’s original release and once again in 2011 when Sara Ramirez covered it, the pressure was on for Rimes to not simply deliver a striking rendition, but to take full possession of the song. Explaining the the track summed up her journey into the new album, Rimes not only took possession of the song, but stole it to ensure it was fully her own. As her big, bold vocal gets the tingles going, her growth as a storyteller shone and paved the path for Rimes back to mainstream national television and radio coverage.
With the first steps to career regeneration taken, Rimes revealed that she would finally be releasing the magical Lori McKenna and Barry Dean penned How To Kiss A Boy. Once again dominating radio airwaves with the single, Rimes stole the show on Strictly Come Dancing last weekend with her captivating rendition of the single. With the bar set high, can the long-awaited Remants live up to the expectations following two of Rimes’ most memorable cuts to date?
The answer is an effortless yes. While both How To Kiss A Boy and The Story shine due to Rimes’ unforgettable vocal, it is in the diversity of sound and performance that she wins on Remnants. For most Rimes is still the innocent fifteen year old songstress that stole to world’s heart with the Diane Warren classic How Do I Live or the playful late teen dancing on the bar to Can’t Fight The Moonlight, but for anyone better acquainted with her striking back catalogue will be aware that Remnants may break the country barriers, but this is a change that has long been coming.
With the feisty Long Live Love dropping hypnotic beats reminiscent of Fallen Angel cut Tic Toc and determined anthem Long Live Love demonstrating the fighter showcased throughout Spitfire, Rimes is an artist determined to show that she can defy expectations without forgetting her roots. This is best exemplified by the absolutely stunning showstopper Do It Wrong With Me, which harks back to her early years as a big balladeer and proves that she understands that the finest moments are always the understated and real.
With the album structured to tell a story, Rimes’ own, it is clear that leaning on some of the world’s finest songwriters has paid off dividends. While the Diane Warren penned gem I Couldn’t Do That To Me is begging to be a single release to thrill the fans of old, the forward thinking anthems Love Is Love Is Love, Dang Dang and Give Me Something (I Can’t Give Myself) are all worthy of single release.
While there are numerous contenders for star of the show, it is at her most reflective that Rimes shines the brightest. As on Spitfire, Rimes has stripped back the pretense of fame and fortune to shed some real insight into her psyche. Mother, which she co-wrote with long-time collaborate Darrell Brown and Mark Batson, is a flawlessly humble apology to her mother that is only rivaled by Borrowed for Rimes’ most beautiful release ever.
Remnants sees Rimes take risks as an artist that she has waited for too long to take. While they could have backfired, they instead start a new chapter in a recording career that deserves to outshine the heady heights of her early years.