Mindy Smith, "Stupid Love"
Romantic missteps have long served as inspiration for pop music, but it's rare to see it done without minor-chord self-pity. The lack of woe-is-me melancholy on Mindy Smith's fourth release, "Stupid Love," is what makes the heartrending album so intriguing. The opening track, "What Went Wrong," could easily be sung as a bluesy downer, but Smith's angelic vocals and the upbeat vein of Nashville pop offer a ray of hope. On "Stupid Love," which features vocal cameos by Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Smith and co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Justin Loucks create headphone-friendly instrumental layers that range from country to electronica. But Smith commands the spotlight on the uplifting second half of the album, with the beautiful track "True Love of Mine" and the party-starter "Take a Holiday" --Dan Ouellette