Canadian-born singer Alex Hughes performed at this year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo, and that’s just one accomplishment in a long line of accomplishments the 21-year-old has archived in her young, yet promising career.
Hughes’ first album, Run Free, is an upbeat and inspirational country-pop collection of songs on love, heartbreak, and coming of age freedoms and challenges.
Even the song in which she turns down love, Snap Back To Reality, are pleasant—almost too pleasant given the subject. However, her message is wise beyond her 21 years: “I don’t think I’m any better than you, that’s not what I’m saying.”
The album doesn’t showcase a powerhouse voice, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have one—the county-pop songs just don’t lend themselves to that.
However, Hughes’ first single, Waiting On Goodbye, written by George Canyon and Mike Little, and Come Close To Me hints that she does have a deeper, sultrier, smokier range.
Come Close To Me is easily the best song on the album, a sultry song about using a rebound relationship to forget another man. It’s lyrical testament to the complex modern woman. The musical track on this song also matches the darker mood of the song
Coming in at a close second, Waiting On Goodbye is a beautiful, sad song about letting go of someone and a love that’s only holding you back. It’s a song that speaks to the heart of every woman who’s felt the sting of a precious love failed.
Many of the album’s other songs have similar paces both vocally and instrumentally, with light and fluffy arrangements, which could come from any current county-pop that don’t connect with some of the deeper meanings.
But those songs are still catchy, mainstream radio staples.
And what album would be complete with- out a feel-good, girl-power jam.
Hughes’ Just Us Ladies Tonight is catchy, with a great message for girls about how it’s acceptable to have a good time but you don’t need to compromise yourself for a boy. “Go ahead and buy us a drink but don’t ever think we owe you anything”
The only unfortunate thing about this song is that the energy level is only half of what it should be. The slow whimsical parts give the song a nostalgic feeling and the chorus should have powerful guitars, fireworks and rockin’ party-ready vocals Hughes’ voice is pretty, steady, and easy to listen to.
There’s clearly talent there that needs to be supported by the songs she sings.
Despite the album’s mainstream sound and its flaws, it grows on you a little more, each time you listen to it.
Run Free is music for fans of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Payton Rae Burrows.