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I'm Just a Girl (Arista)

deana carter, just a girl
deana carter, just a girl

I'm a wildflower, and I need a little rain to grow, declares Deana Carter on her first album in five years. The sunny singer has certainly endured her share of rain sice 1998's Everything's Gonna Be Alright, including a label change, a divorce and a DUI arrest. But she clearly has grown as a result, and this CD brims with maturity and hard-won wisdom.

For the first time, Deana had a hand in writing all 12 tracks on the album. The result is a collection of gutsy, rootsy tunes, many of which describe the process of coming to terms with human imperfections. "You and Tequila" finds her desperately battling an addiction to a bad-news boyfriend: It's always your favorite sins that do you in, she laments. Yet, in "Me and the Radio" she gathers the courage to break away from a toxic relationship, hitting the road with only sad songs for solace and vowing, I'll come back alive.

There are plenty of upbeat moments to temper the melancholy. "Twice as Worth It" is a meditation on the way we accept the flaws of those we love, while "Liar" gleefully and unapologetically kicks a no-good man out the door.

The album has a few faults of its own – like the silly spoken-word verses on "Cover of a Magazine" and the abrasive guitars on the album-closing "Girls' Night." But, as I'm Just a Girl conveys throughout, it's our weaknesses that allow us to fully realize our potential. With this powerful comeback, Deana has more than realized hers.

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