Jo Dee Messina, "Me" (Dreambound/Entertainment One)
Jo Dee Messina opens her new album, "Me," with a song title that declares she's "Not Dead Yet." The veteran country singer proved just that when fans rallied behind her Kickstarter campaign, helping her raise more than $100,000 for the recording of this 12-song collection.
Messina's declaration that she's still alive and well comes across clearly on this playfully vibrant album. "Me" repeatedly speaks of second stages in life -- and, by proxy, in careers, too. Messina, 43, continually addresses the value of experience in her songs, as well as in co-writing seven songs and in co-producing the album with Julian King.
The songs "Love on a Maybe" and "Breakin' It Down" confront a partner about commitment, making it clear she needs more from him, and "A Woman's Rant" wittily rips at the fast pace of modern-day life for a working mother. Similarly, "Peace Sign" uses clever, biting humor to tell a lover to kiss off.
The album's ballads slow things down -- not just in tempo, but in quality, too. However, whenever the beat kicks in, so does Messina's entertaining style. "Me" proves that Messina's fans are right to think she still has plenty to offer.