Big Stories

POZ Review: Cassadee Pope - Frame By Frame

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 2, 2013

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by Ali Killian, edited by Erik van Rheenen

Questions of uncertainty ran through my head when former Hey Monday vocalist Cassadee Pope announced she would be competing on “The Voice.” Cassadee’s signature vocals were easily my favorite in the pop-rock sphereand though I’m a fan of country music, I still felt that pang of doubt when she selected country star Blake Shelton as her mentor on the show. But, I knew she grew up singing country, and I figured this was the route she really wanted to travel, so I pushed my worries aside, supported her in the endeavor and waited for the new music to surface.

Unfortunately, Pope’s debut solo album Frame By Frame struck me as a pop album trying to conform to country standards of a far lower quality than she normally produces. The cookie-cutter record was released on Republic Nashville, which was co-founded by Universal Republic and Big Machine Records — the two labels that first worked together to launch Taylor Swift into stardom. Though Pope is still the same vocal powerhouse with great storytelling ability, the record feels overproduced and forced; it’s clearly meant to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, probably to ride out the rest of “The Voice” hype while she can. Though, the quality does seem to grow as you get deeper into the album; I think the last two tracks are the only ones that truly hit that distinctive pop-rock-country target, and are the only ones that really demonstrate Cass’ talent.

The record opens with “Good Times,” a cheesy, radio-ready track that seems to serve a marketing purpose more than anything else. The music sounds computer-generated, and the vocal twang and abbreviatin’ just misses the boat on sounding natural, causing the whole song to sound artificial. The chorus gives subtle dance instructions, and one pair of lyrics even says, “I need some crowd participation / I want to see you going wall to wall.” It’s just typical — something Pope has not ever been.

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Elliot James Produced, Featured On Young Marino Track

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 2, 2013

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Elliot James (ex-Hey Monday) produced and also has a guest spot on a new Young Marino song called “Honest Liars.” Watch the music video and listen to the song below after the jump.

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Cassadee Pope Posts Message To Hey Monday

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 18, 2013

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Cassadee Pope has posted a video message to Hey Monday fans. Watch it below after the jump.

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Cassadee Pope Album Artwork, Track Listing, Release Date 

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Cassadee Pope Album Title, Release Date; Posts Two Artwork Possibilities

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 6, 2013

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Cassadee Pope will be releasing Frame By Frame on October 8th. Check out two artwork possibilities for the release below after the jump! 

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Break Blossom Release “Dirt” Music Video

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 7, 2013

Break Blossom have released a new music video for “Dirt.” Watch it below by clicking “Read More.” 

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Hey Monday Hometown Reunion Videos

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 9, 2012

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Cassadee Pope reunited with several Hey Monday members a few nights ago in West Palm Beach, FL. Check out videos of the band’s set below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope Reuniting With Hey Monday Members 

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Cassadee Pope Reuniting With Hey Monday Members

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 6, 2012

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It looks like Cassadee Pope will be reuniting with several Hey Monday members tomorrow night in West Palm Beach, FL. Check out a tweet from Pope below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope Covers Gavin DeGraw On ‘The Voice’

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 23, 2012

Cassadee Pope covered Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You” on The Voice. Listen to her cover below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope Interview On E! News

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 4, 2012

Cassadee Pope was recently interviewed by E! News for The Voice. Check out the video below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope Full “Torn” Cover

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 2, 2012

Cassadee Pope's full cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” has now been released. Stream the song below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope Defends Going On ‘The Voice’ 

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Cassadee Pope Covers “Torn” On ‘The Voice’

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 25, 2012

Cassadee Pope covered Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” on The Voice. Watch the performance below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope To Appear On ‘The Voice’ Tonight

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 25, 2012

After a long wait, Cassadee Pope will be appearing on The Voice. The TV show has released a teaser of her appearance, which includes a discussion about her past in Hey Monday and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy being a mentor to her. Check out the video below by clicking “Read More.”

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Cassadee Pope (ex-Hey Monday) Auditions For ‘The Voice’

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 1, 2012

Cassadee Pope (ex-Hey Monday) is following Juliet Simms and Dia Frampton and has auditioned for The Voice. Check out a tweet from Pope below by clicking “Read More.”

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Mike Gentile (Hey Monday) New Band Song Clip

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 9, 2012

It looks like Mike Gentile (Hey Monday) is getting ready to debut a new band. Check out a trailer for his new project below by clicking “Read More.”

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POZ Review: Cassadee Pope - Cassadee Pope

by Zack Zarrillo - May 29, 2012

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For years it was rumored that Decaydance Records power-pop band Hey Monday were created as a launching pad for vocalist Cassadee Pope’s eventual solo career. True or not, that’s how things have played out, and it is hard to argue with the results. Cassadee Pope, her first release as a solo artist, heads in a more mainstream direction than her Hey Monday work without losing sight of what gave HM their undeniable appeal — easy melodies, big punchy hooks and straightforward, relatable lyrics.

Boisterous lead track “Original Love” is the obvious single; it also hews closest to the Hey Monday format. The drums in the verses are digital, and keys give color where a guitar lead might otherwise go. Yet, the explosive refrain (bolstered by a thumping backbeat courtesy of All Time Low drummer / Pope paramour Rian Dawson) rocks as hard as anything in the Hey Monday catalog. There is even a squealing (if brief) guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It is not clear what is so “original” about Pope’s love — it sure sounds a lot like the love everyone else on pop radio is singing about — but the heart-on-sleeve naiveté matches the giddy chorus’ tone perfectly.

If “Original Love” is the most single-worthy track here, “I Guess We’re Cool” is possibly the greatest song Pope has ever written, with a lurching gear-shift into a positively huge chorus that finds her reciting a litany of perceived shortcomings in her protagonist — “I can get moody when my hair’s a mess”; “I’m gonna ask all about your ex” — before concluding that “if you’re ok with that […] I guess we’re cool.” Except that it is clear from the ache in Pope’s voice that, deep down, things are not “cool,” Pope insinuates that it is not nearly enough to merely accept such superficial flaws, or at least that it shouldn’t be. The line, as Pope sings it, is a window into a heady confrontation between the needy cravings of damaged self-esteem and a nagging sense of deserving more, powerful forces at internal loggerheads. It is an alchemical bit of pop writing, a transformative morsel of phrasing and delivery that lards a seemingly-straightforward sentiment with massive hidden depth, and it is quite beyond anywhere Pope’s gone to date.

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Ernie Ball