Let me start off by saying that I am not the world’s biggest country fan. Every once in a while I’ll enjoy a good Miranda Lambert song or go back to my favorite country record, Stand Still, Look Pretty by Michelle Branch‘s old band, The Wreckers – even Taylor Swift‘s first few albums have captured my attention – but as for the genre as a whole, nothing has sparked my interest lately. As I was browsing through Spotify this week, I came across the first country album I ever bought way back in 2000 at the ripe age of 12 – Alecia Elliott‘s I’m Diggin’ It. This record is the epitome of everything I like about country and then some. I just wish more records fell along these lines.
I’m not quite sure how I was led in Elliott’s direction all those years ago, but even today as I listen to the songs that filled up my 7th grade year, I can’t help but marvel at how solid this record still is. Elliott’s voice soars over every track while the situations explored during that time are still relevant today, lyrically speaking. From the uplifting gem of “Some People Fall, Some People Fly,” to the social justice aspect of “I Don’t Understand,” it’s pretty evident that the world missed out on a country superstar in the making with this record. Needless to say, underrated is the only word left to describe it.
I remember trying desperately to learn “Every Heart” on guitar – which let’s just say I am not very gifted at – while humming along in my bedroom after school. Listening to it now, I can’t believe how much I can relate to it – “It would never be mine. I was just standing in line. Every heart has to hurt some time” – while “Say You Will” and “Ain’t No Ordinary Love” still give me goosebumps 16 years later.
While Elliott was penned as the “country Britney Spears” due to her “I’m Diggin’ It” music video bearing similarities to Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” video, I’m still marveling over those outfit choices (hello, chunky sandals!) and that killer Macintosh scene (miss those things!). If only MTV would have caught on, who knows where that song would’ve taken her! But while most female singers were more concerned with sex appeal, Elliott was a game changer, especially with tracks like “I’m Waiting For You” and the empowering, “You Wanna What?” – which let’s be honest is something the world needs more of, especially in this day in age. “You don’t seem any different / I keep wishing but I guess you’re not / You wanna what? I don’t think so / I don’t waste my time on guys like that.” As a 12 year-old I found this track very reassuring while most of my friends were having pregnancy scares. Sorry not sorry.
Though we cannot bring back the past or dwell on what might have been, the best part about the music that filled our formative years is that it will always be around to cherish for years to come. I’m diggin’ that.
I’m Diggin’ It is available here.