Singer-songwriter Brooke Reuss has just released Stand Up Reloaded, a country-pop track taken from Brooke’s forthcoming debut EP. As Brooke has said about her creative ambitions, ‘I want to connect with as many people as possible. I hope my stories bring comfort, helps people through tough times and heals’. And who can argue with that?
As the title suggests, the new single has had a prior release—implying that Brooke puts considerable store in the efficacy of the track’s message—and there is indeed a message. There are a few. All are related to the important subjects explored, such as self-empowerment, social justice, and equality. Heavy subject matter indeed, and weighty concepts for what is ostensibly a contemporary country-pop track, replete with semi-distorted guitars, pop hooks and sparkling banjo: all vying for position across this stylistically expansive terrain. However, country music has always been a style that’s not afraid to venture forth, further out than perhaps classic pop has gone, taking on all the rough edges of life on board and utilising it, transforming it. One thinks of Loretta Lyn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, to name a few.
Brooke’s opening lines, I wish I could speak to the word, to all the boys and girls / don’t let our lives shatter, our lives matter, here, contain a sense of determination and a sense of trepidation; how does she get through to her audience, these boys and girls? One method is by giving them the lowdown while reeling them in with an array of gentle pop hooks. For the most part, that’s just what Stand Up Reloaded contains—an undercurrent of country, swelling beneath a layer of accessible melodies, with MOR rock touches and Brooke’s desirous intonations. Co-written and produced by Lee Bradshaw, Stand Up Reloaded is reminiscent of Sara Bareilles and Carrie Underwood’s work and fits neatly between these two—soulful, singer-songwriter pop meets shiny contemporary country.