Cassadee Pope is no stranger to breaking the rules and paving a path that’s uniquely her own.
On her new album Thrive, Pope expertly combines musical genres of her past and present while firmly defining her future. The combination creates a new genre of music that Pope’s fans refer to as “y’allternative.” A combination of the pop-infused country formula introduced on her first two solo records and her punk-rock past fronting the band Hey Monday.
Collaborating with seasoned and iconic talents from both of the genres that previously defined her, Thrive has something for everyone. The album includes features from Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, Lindsay Ell, and Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins. Fairchild also appears as the album’s co-producer, who brought the new genre-bending sound to life with Pope and All American Rejects guitarist Nickolas Wheeler.
Thrive is something special. Reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson shedding her American Idol stigma when she released her career-defining album Breakaway. This record does the same for Pope, who won season three of NBC’s The Voice. Here, Cassadee reemerges as a confident, more authentic version of herself.
Pope kicks off the album with an instrumental intro appropriately titled “Welcome,” as if she’s opening the door to her home and letting us in on who’s been living there all along. A woman who grew up idolizing Shania Twain while blasting Blink 182 on her boombox. It’s Cassadee from start to finish. From the first electrifying guitar riff of “Same Old Brand New Me” to the stripped-down finale “No Now.”
The album’s first single “What the Stars See” mixes her influences most effortlessly combining rocking electric guitars and country melodies. While tracks like “Some People” and “Break Too” fill the void in music that her musical inspirations Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne previously filled. On the anthemic title track “Thrive,” Cassadee shines her brightest with lyrical wordplays and a chorus that explodes through the speakers like Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes.”
“Tomorrow Night” and “Mind Your Own” have a special nostalgic sound that takes me back to rushing home from school to catch my favorite songs on MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL). And then there’s “Say It First.” A song that Pope held onto for many years because it had something so special that it demanded to be surrounded by songs equally as impressive. On Thrive it has finally found its home.
Maybe that’s because Cassadee hand-crafted all 38-minutes of Thrive. It’s her heart, her story told through songs. And while songs draw comparisons to influences and sounds of Cassadee’s past, the results are unlike anything her peers in music are doing today. She is making the music that she wants to make, the way she wants to make it. And now it’s her time to thrive.