Julianne Hough, JULIANNE HOUGH

Current country music has taken a definitive turn towards top 40 pop -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Singer Julianne Hough covers some familiar territory, to bouth country music and pop music, on her debut album Julianne Hough, and it's a nice enough trip.

Julianne Hough contains plenty of songs about cute boys and being in love, from the bad boy who got away ("Jimmy Ray McGee") to a long-distance love ("Dreaming Under the Same Moon"). There are also life-affirming positive tunes ("My Hallelujah Songs," "About Life," "Love Yourself") and songs about other's problems ("Hello," "Help Me, Help You").

Julianne Hough doesn't have a lot of surprises or originality (and the song "You, You You" annoys by often repeating a word three times in a row during the song). What it does offer is a sweet singing voice and a good number of catchy tunes and strong ballads. Julianne Hough is an enjoyable little album for those who like their country music infused with a good dose of pop.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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