Review : Mindy Smith - Stupid Love
BillboardRomantic 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...full text
AllmusicAfter the tasteful Southern-accented and acoustic-leaning sound of Mindy Smith's first two albums, Stupid Love finds her dipping her toes into something closer to contemporary pop. Smith is a long, long way from transforming herself into Taylor Swift, but the snappy rhythms and percolating basslines on "Highs and Lows" and "Love Chases After Me" are a good bit more radio-friendly than Smith's earlier work, and "What Love Can Do" recalls the muscular grace of classic era Fleetwood Mac, suggesting that she's eager to play to a broader audience than she has in the past. Ian Fitchuk and Justin Loucks produced Stupid Love with Smith, and while they've dressed up the arrangements and added just a touch of polish to the recording and mix, thankfully Smith herself seems little changed by the new surroundings; her voice is as supple and gracefully balanced as ever, and the 13 songs she wrote (or co-wrote) for the album are literate and emotionally honest stuff, even if broken hearts and alcoholic self-medication pop up fairly often in the lyrics (though her duet with Daniel Tashian on "True Love of Mine" finds her in more contented form). However, while Stupid Love's best moments show she can move her music in different directions and make it work, the arrangements and production too often cover the same ideas over and over, and the album sounds a bit bland and repetitive as a result. It doesn't have to, since the songs generally sound as tuneful and well-crafted as her earlier work, but Stupid Love sounds curiously chicken-hearted when it reaches for its pop gestures, a shame since the songs where she pushes hardest in that direction are the ones that succeed the most....full text
SlantmagazineWhile her first two albums intermittently hinted at her full potential, singer-songwriter Mindy Smith was often hamstrung by both her lapses into naïvete and preciousness and a gauzy production style that was tepid even by ever-dulling Americana standards. Smith's latest, Stupid Love, goes a long way toward correcting those earlier mistakes, and it easily stands as her most accomplished, most substantial record. There's a surprising heft to the production here: Punchy single "Highs and Lows" boasts a terrific rhythm track that's perfectly layered for headphone listening, closer "Take a Holiday" is a near-perfect slice of '70s-era AM radio pop, while the heavy reverb in the vocal track on "If I Didn't Know Any Better" gives the song a real structural sophistication, sounding as though Smith is being chastised by a full choir of voices in her head. Her performance on that track is perhaps the best example of her growth as an interpretive singer, as she gives an effective, darker reading to one of Alison Krauss's best singles. The melancholy tone of the album suits Smith's voice well, as there's a natural sadness to her timbre that makes songs like "Love Lost" and "Couldn't Stand the Rain" fully convincing. She does begin to repeat herself to diminishing returns toward the latter half of the album ("I'm Disappointed" has a couple of awful grade school rhymes, while "Surface" drowns its lovely melody by playing like an interminable dirge), but Stupid Love impresses for its thematic focus and the leap forward in maturity in Smith's songwriting. Having her heart broken seems to have done Smith a world of good....full text
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