When I heard the first strains of Gwen Sebastian’s ‘I’m Not Who You think I Am’ I thought to myself, ‘I’m really gonna enjoy this album.’ Gwen has a thick, rich, drawn-out voice that is a foundational part of what makes a country singer great. The other part is a great story in a great song. This is where some of Sebastian’s tunes miss the mark.
‘Suitcase’, the third song of the album, is an upbeat, heard-it-before tune about throwing out your lover after a discovered affair. A lot of the lyrics of this song sounded less of a story and more of a way to string words that rhyme together:
Now I’m emptying out you dresser like a tornados ’bout to hit/
You don’t know it yet
While it was supposed to come across as a female empowerment breakup song, the rhyme-at-will lyrics just made it sound cheesy.
Along the same lines is ‘Fix This Fix’, an addicted-to-you love song:
An Emotional crutch/
Your love is a drug…
…I reach for you one more time/
You get me high…
…You’re the habit I can’t quit/
I don’t ever want to fix this fix.
This tune really made it seem like Sebastian was trying to shoehorn herself into a popish sounding song that sounds like it would have been written by an artist fresh outta high school.
At this point, I began to think ‘well, too bad; such promise,’ but lo, Gwen still had something impressive to come.
‘I Ain’t the Middle of the Road’ and ‘Farmageddon’ both got my attention. ‘Middle of the Road’ is a rocking tune about not being your average girl in a general sense.
A little bit of high/
A little bit of low/
Don’t want your straight down the middle of the road/
A little bit of left;right…
…I won’t take the way everybody goes/
I ain’t the middle of the road
‘Farmageddon’ is about the vengeance that a farmer will take to defend and hold onto their land.
Try getting this piece of heaven/
You get farmageddon
While both songs are imperfect; some parts grab you with the lyrics and music, others are less stellar, but both give you an idea of what’s to come.
And what’s to come on the second half of the album is what really stars to impress. ‘When I’m Gone’, ‘One Like That’ and ‘Time to Go Home’ are all great examples of pairing the right song with the right singer. All of these songs are slower, more controlled and really show off what Sebastian’s voice can do. Over each of them her voice is smooth, relaxing, and really carries forth the message of the song: a mother, farmer, soldier pondering who will come after them when they are gone (‘When I’m Gone)’; finding a love like your parents had (‘One Like That’); reflecting on the death of a loved one (‘Time to Go Home’). Through these and other songs, Gwen really shows that she is a capable and worthy country artist with the right material.
I, unfortunately, was not able to download the CD booklet; the file was corrupted. Too bad, ‘cuz I was interested in seeing more of Sebastian than just the sassy hip thrust that she displays on the cover. I was curious to see if the interior was more art than publicity photos. With Sebastian’s promise as an artist in the musical department, I wanted to see if it carried over to the visual media as well.
In doing some research online, I discovered that this is not Sebastian’s first album. Her self titled impressed me enough to want to check out more.