The Band Perry, 'Pioneer': Track-by-Track Review

90 Billboard Rating

The Band Perry has had the date April 2 circled on their calendar for quite some time. Today marks the release of their long-awaited sophomore project, "Pioneer." Their self-titled Republic Nashville debut, released in October 2010, has scanned over a million units, and included five top-20 hits, including the cross-over smash "If I Die Young."

The Perrys are off and running on their second album -- which has already earned a No. 1 with the lead off single "Better Dig Two," as well as “Done,” which is No. 24 on the Hot Country Songs chart this week. On "Pioneer," the trio take their traditional side a little further, while doing the same with their rock influences -- with sounds ranging from Bluegrass to Queen. Kimberly Perry told Billboard that they have learned it's best to go with their gut instinct.

When asked what advice she would give herself when their first album came out, she said "I think I would say 'Don't make any decisions based out of fear, which can come out of a lot of different places. I think there was even a possibility of being fearful leading into the second album, because you get used to the comfort of where you are headed. I think we made some of the boldest decisions on this record than ever before."

1. Better Dig Two - We have been a fan of this one since thre trio premiered it on the CMA Awards. It manages to blend a very contemporary sound with a Applachian lyric. Think the term “Southern Gothic,” and you’ve got it.

2. Done - The trio picks right up where they left off with this bit of sass that should go very well live in concert this summer. The video for the song, released a day before the album's release, is quite simple compared to the elaborate, cinematic "Dig." Watch:

3. Don't Let Me Be Lonely - The hit ballad of the summer? A cross-over smash? It could very well be. Kimberly’s vocal ooze with a sensual bit of urgency on this one. Again, it could be their biggest yet!

4. Pioneer - The title cut is like a plot twist from a 1983 (or 2013) episode of “Dallas.” - not exactly what you think it’s going to be. In the beginning of this one, the instrumentation and the harmonies mirror a bluegrass song, but as the song moves along, there’s a definite nod to 80s rock, before ending the way it begins. A cool vibe from beginning to end.

5. Forever Mind Nevermind - Speaking of 80s rock, the band admits to listening to quite of Queen on this track, which was co-written with Brad Paisley. That influence shows, as it’s one of the most dramatic arrangments on the album. Again, another song that will be a huge stage show stopper.

6. Night Gone Wasted - A lot of confidence is exuded on this cut, which brings to mind some of the best work of Shania Twain.

7. I Saw a Light - Next to “If I Die Young,” the most traditional country song the Perrys have recorded – though they do mix it up with 80s pop on the infectious bridge. Written about the initial spark that happens when you meet the “One,” the harmonies are incredible on this one.

8. Mother Like Mine -  A touching sentiment that was inspired by the trio’s mother. A perfect song for Mother's Day.

9. Chainsaw - An ode to a carving on a tree – and the tree itself. Kudos to Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, and Matt Ramsey for coming up with a new and novel approach to the “Kiss Off” song, which will no doubt score with many women done wrong...and maybe a few men!

10. I'm a Keeper - This song flows well, and is custom made for the radio – where I predict it will be a huge hit. The chorus hammers this one out of the ballpark, with Kimberly turning into a 80s rock glam girl!

11. Back to Me Without You - The jewel of the disc. Kimberly’s lead vocal echoes with anguish and pain, while Reid and Neil’s harmonies help this performance to soar into the stratosphere.

12. End of Time - The album, which is loaded with plenty of dramatic lyrics and arrangements, closes with a truly luscious ballad which leaves the listener wanting more!

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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