Danielia Cotton – The Gun in Your Hand

The De Mello Rating3 Stars

There was a time when a loud guitar and a good voice would’ve been enough to get a positive rating from me, but perhaps I’ve grown since then or maybe I’m just pickier. I want some depth from my music. Danielia Cotton’s latest effort has some really good spots and some not so good spots. Let’s start with the bad and then we’ll get into the good, because I hate to end on a negative note.

The first four songs shouldn’t even be on this album, they’re sort of all over the place, they do nothing to showcase Cotton’s voice which is powerful and the music sounds like something a bar band would play. Then there’s a song like “Watch Me Bleed” which is sort of like a bad Gary Clark Jr. song and it’s similar to a Kid Rock song. The album would be better if pared down to two separate EPs, because there are two distinctive patterns on here and really you could cut the album in half.

On the one hand if put with songs like her cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain”, “Boy Blue” and “The Only Reason” you have a tremendous pop album that could probably do better than most American Idol contestants. The tools are there, she has an absolutely beautiful voice and the power of it is demonstrated so amazingly proficiently within the confines of this style that I’m surprised she hasn’t just stuck with this.

The other part, well the other part you’re venturing off into Gretchen Wilson territory. Songs like “Save Me” and “Lighthouse Keeper” are songs that I wouldn’t even release if I were Cotton. Her voice isn’t suited for that style of music. She has a powerful pop voice and while she can rock out, as it were, she shouldn’t be. Imagine someone like Nina Simone taking a song like “Here Comes the Sun” and instead of doing it her way, like she did, she cranks up to 11 and starts trying to be something she isn’t. It wouldn’t work.

Half of this album is absolutely brilliant and if that were the crux of the album it would be one of the few five star albums I would have on this blog. Her version of “Purple Rain” is sublime, the way she tweaks it just enough to make it her own, the way she lets her voice resonate is absolute perfection. Then on “Smile” she does it again. Why can’t she do that the whole album? Why diverge into a place that doesn’t suit her? She has a better voice than even Jennifer Hudson, more depth, more power and yet she sings these songs that make her sound like she’s being challenged to try a different genre on one of television’s singing monstrosities.

Danielia Cotton is better than that and to say I’m disappointed is putting it mildly. I’m disappointed because I want more of the half that is amazing. I want that Danielia to find the focus, find the voice and have the wherewithal to really make THAT album, because that album would make her a star. This album doesn’t do that. This I will say to Ms. Cotton directly and I quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “There is no planet, sun, or star could hold you if you but knew what you are.”

Best Song: Purple Rain or if you want an original Smile. Both phenomenal songs.

Worst Song: You could put the first four in a hat and take your pick, but I chose Save Me, because I listened to it first and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

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