Sometimes it’s easy to forget just what a musical force LeAnn Rimes is. She’s sold over 37.5 million records worldwide with 16.5 million of those in the US alone. Breaking through as a child in 1996, Rimes went on to have huge international success with her version of the ballad How Do I Live. Over the years she’s scored many other hits including Can’t Fight the Moonlight and I Need You. Over the past several years her personal troubles have overshadowed her music but with the release of Remnants she’s putting all that behind her as she puts her best foot forward.
Remnants is the first album release from Rimes since she signed with RCA. It’s the follow-up to 2013’s well-received Spitfire and it’s a record of hope and optimism. The album’s lead single is a cover of The Story, originally recorded by Brand Carlile and subsequently recorded by Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez. Rimes puts her own twist on the emotive song and it’s the only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what she has to offer on Remnants.
Current single How to Kiss a Boy is a timely reminder of why people loved Rimes in the first place. Her vocals are strong and she’s able to tell a story through song like few others. On the track Rimes switches from restrained and placed to powerful and emotive. She explores every nuance of the piano-backed melody showcasing her rich vibrato and her powerful belt. It’s one of the best songs she’s released in a long time and it’s a welcome return to form for the star.
Rimes has had a hand in co-writing the majority of the tracks on Remnants. She’s progressively been more involved with the songwriting over the course of her album and it’s clear that it’s part of her craft that she’s naturally flourishing with. Many of the songs on the record deal with love in a positive and powerful way. The moody beat of Love Line provides a deep groove as Rimes sings about love being thicker than blood and the virtues of its power. Love Is Love Is Love echoes the sentiment of Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s now infamous speech at the Tony Awards. It’s a call of support to the LGBT community, who Rimes has supported throughout her career.
Elsewhere on the record Rimes gives a spine-tingling vocal on the standout track Mother, is supported by a gospel choir on the powerful and feisty Remnants, and appreciates everything she has in life on the rousing Humbled. Do It Wrong With Me combines a bluesy melody and a gospel choir for one of the most stirring moments on the record.
My favourite moment comes on the acoustic Learning Your Language, which lyrically explores dealing with your insecurities to allow yourself to be present in a relationship. The vocal on the track is absolutely stunning and Rimes shows that she has as much power when she’s restrained as she does in full voice.
Remnants is the best album Rimes has released in years. Vocally she’s better than she’s ever been, lyrically she’s at her most honest and musically she’s bold and captivating. Rimes may have her detractors but she deserves plenty more credit than she often gets. Not only is she one of the finest vocalists we have in the industry, and indeed in Country music, she’s also a remarkable storyteller who is really blossoming 20 years in to her incredible career. Remnants is an absolute triumph.
Track Listing: 1. The Story 2. Love Line 3. Outrageous Love 4. Mother 5. Remnants 6. Long Live Love 7. How to Kiss a Boy 8. Love Is Love Is Love 9. Learning Your Language 10. I Couldn’t Do That to Me 11. Humbled 12. Do It Wring With Me 13. Dang Dang 14. Give Me Something (I Can’t Give Myself) Record Company: RCA Release Date: 28th October 2016