It made some sense to gussy Kellie Pickler up as a genuine diva on her eponymous second album -- she's a reality star veteran after all -- but the makeover didn't quite stick. Too corny to truly seem glamorous and lacking the self-effacing panache of her idol Dolly Parton, Pickler came across as a girl dressing up in her big sister's clothes: charming enough at a glance, but the loose fit, not to mention the glue on the sequins, is all too apparent upon closer inspection. Kellie wisely puts the spangly threads away in the closet for her third album, 100 Proof.
For almost a year now, Kellie Pickler has insisted that her third album would lean heavily toward the kind of traditional country music that she says she’s always wanted to record. Considering that her first two albums consisted of forgettable, slight pop-country confections and that her public persona has long been characterized by her not understanding what words mean, there were good reasons to approach Pickler’s 100 Proof with a healthy skepticism with regard to its supposed genre bona fides. But all credit to Pickler and producers Frank Liddell and Luke Wooten: 100 Proof isn’t a great album, but it’s certainly a very good one, and it boasts a strong traditionalist bent.