Women in Music 2016

Twisted Angel

Her much-publicized legal wrangles behind her, Rimes is now a bona fide pop artist—which is fine, because she remains a monster vocalist just getting started.

Her much-publicized legal wrangles behind her, Rimes is now a bona fide pop artist—which is fine, because she remains a monster vocalist just getting started. Radio candy like "Trouble With Goodbye" and "Wound Up" have style and verve, but Rimes is at her best when she can soar and roar. She shows mastery of tone and range for days on the AC ballads "The Safest Place," "Love Is an Army," and "Damn"; vocal chops galore on the pulsing midtempo "Suddenly" and bluesy title cut; then removes all doubt that times have certainly changed as she purrs: "Come inside my walls of ecstacy" on the PG-13 "Tic Toc." The sultry ballad "Review My Kisses" is one of the few that could pass on country radio (with world-class vocals), but if Rimes wants to be a pop singer when she grows up, at least she's a very good one.—RW