Caitlin & Will, “Address in the Stars”

caitlin-and-willIt was initially reported that Caitlin & Will, the victors of CMT’s Can You Duet show, were going to release “Even Now” from their yet to be released debut album. However, “Address in the Stars” has been chosen as their official lead single instead.

“Address in the Stars”, propelled by Caitlin’s lead vocals, is a heartbreaking first person account of a woman struggling to negotiate the feelings that accompany the death of a loved one. She can hardly breathe when she sees the person’s picture, she rails at the sky because of the overwhelming pain she’s feeling and realizes that while her friends tell her that all she needs is time, she knows “it ain’t nothin’ but a lie.” So, all she can do is write letters that cannot be sent, since “there’s no address in the stars.”

While this all sounds over the top with drama, Caitlin’s vocals identify the pain that one might imagine or understand to be associated with such a significant loss. There is feeling, there is sincerity and there is clarity in her voice that aptly captures everything that should exist in a song of this nature. While Caitlin does showboat in places, there is also a sensitivity that makes the potentially overwrought lyrics believable.

Where this song fails, however, is in the irritatingly bombastic production that begs not to be ignored. The combination of piano, wailing electric guitars and obnoxious strings turns this song that could have been cathartic into a melodramatic, Disney soundtrack spectacle. Sadly, in the end, this decent song has been all but ruined by a producer who refused to step back. While the producer was likely trying to breathe life into it, he over produced it so much that he snuffed the life right out of it instead.

Grade: C

Listen:  Address in the Stars

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27 Comments

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27 Responses to Caitlin & Will, “Address in the Stars”

  1. I think you’re spot-on with this review – a very good song (although I like the lyric better than the tune, personally), very good vocal by Caitlin – absolutely horrible overdone production.

  2. AnnieNo Gravatar

    After listening to this song I agree that the production is way “over the top” in places. The lyrics are good and Caitlin’s voice is great – but, it all just gets lost. I much prefer “Even Now”. I would love to know what is the deal with whoever is trying to “market” these two. It’s almost painful. I want to believe that their label isn’t struggling with the fact that Caitlin & Will don’t have the “physical” look that Nashville seems to be all about right now. Music Row needs to give us country listeners more credit than that! Music is, IMHO, for the ears.

  3. CMWNo Gravatar

    Right-on review, Leeann.

  4. Beth MarshNo Gravatar

    This my favorite song in five years or more. If you have lost someone you love all the things you mention in your review are pointless. This song speaks to me in a deep way. It made me cry. Beautiful all the way around. I happen to love the production- for me, it drives the emotion home.

  5. While I certainly agree with the production being a bit much, I’m not so sure that it’s synth ‘strings.’ As a sucker for a good power ballad, I can forgive the strings too, even if this songs feels more AC than pop-country to me (and that’s saying something given my defense of pop-country).

  6. Greg MNo Gravatar

    I was really hoping this would get a better review. I really love this song, and over production be damned. Country music is about a story, and the lyrics should tell that story. This song does that very well.

  7. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I just think the strings, which does sound like synth strings (though I certainly could be wrong) really take away from the excellent performance and emotion of the song. I suppose people who don’t mind such production will think it adds to it and people who typically cringe at that kind of sound won’t appreciate it. To me, a good song was covered up, but I’m glad that there are people who either love the flourishes or can hear past them. Then again, perhaps I’m not completely happy about it, because such support of this kind of production will continue to encourage producers to run with it rather than strip things down a bit, which is something I hate to hear pervade today’s mainstream sounds.

  8. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Matt, since I can’t be sure that it’s not synth strings, I’ll change it in my review.

  9. DebiNo Gravatar

    With due respect, Ms Ward, that is not the only thing that you revised in your review;
    “While Caitlin does belt in places…”, changed to, “While Caitlin does showboat in places…”.

    I think I am a little chagrined by that change. There is not a single note in that song that sounds like showboating. In fact, that second to the last line in Address is cathartic. Your other adjectives describing Caitlin’s presentation really don’t really fit your revision, so I am also perplexed. The change however does fit your critique of the production of the song. I like music that stirs my blood. If that makes me musically plebian, unable to distinguish between a Disney spectacle and a true work of art, then so be it. Don’t you think writing that Caitlin is show boating on this song is a little presumptuous? I don’t know, maybe you have personal knowledge of Caitlin that we don’t. I would hate to think that….they both look like sincere people on their interview video. Which is a long winded way of saying that I love this song. Not over the top for me!

  10. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yes, I did write “belt” at first and then changed it to “showboat.” When I wrote “belt”, I was trying to think of the word “showboat” but couldn’t come up with it. So, this morning, I thought of the word I was looking for and changed it. I really don’t think that changing “belt” to “showboat” really changes what I meant by that line; I just didn’t like “belt”, because it sounds kind of harsh to me. “Showboat” at least implies that there’s some vocal ability to show off while “belt” just pretty much means that she’s singing loudly for the heck of it. I will admit that I didn’t mean either word to be super positive, however. I don’t particularly like belting or showboating, but please pay attention to the positive qualifications that I made about her vocal performance as well.

  11. TaeNo Gravatar

    Hmmmm. Interesting opinion! And, that’s what it is, just an opinion, and we all are entitled. However, I have to wonder the same thing. Do you in fact know Caitlin, and can you ASSUME that she was merely, “belting” or “showboating,” as you put it. Is there a possibility that her feelings, towards this loved one, may have evoked or inspired her vocal interpretation(s)? I do know, that when I hear this song, it brings back memories of the loss of my sister, three years ago…to the day. There are times when I still scream when I’m driving…alone. The frustration I feel about not being able to touch, see, or hear her voice is unbearable at times. That’s what I hear in Caitlin’s magnificient voice and in her rendition of this powerful song. But, then again, it’s just my opinion.

  12. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    No, I don’t know Caitlin. I don’t think that I implied in any way that I did. I was merely referring to her vocals, not her emotions. In fact, I validated the premise of the song and her obvious emotional connection to it.

  13. Leeann,

    Here’s the songwriters on the track: Caitlin Lynn/Aimee Mayo/Chris Lindsey/Hillary Lindsey. So now we may know why Caitlin is so ‘emotional’ on the track, she co-wrote it.

  14. I vaguely remember Caitlin saying somewhere that one of the songs she had been co-writing for the album was based on the death of one of her relatives, and obviously this is the one.

  15. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yes, I remember that as well, Ocasional Hope. I believe it was inspired by the death of her Aunt. I didn’t want to add it to the review because I don’t really like that kind of background to inform a review. I feel an emotional song needs to stand on its own, which this song actually does.

    Thanks for the writers’ tip, Matt.

    For the record, I don’t hate this song at all, just the production. If it had been produced differently, I would probably like it a lot. In fact, I think it’s a testament to a good performance and song that it still hit me despite the production that I strongly dislike. Unfortunately, as far as the grade is concerned, I felt that I had to knock it down to a “C” because the production is simply such an integral part of a song, especially an emotional one like this.

  16. DebiNo Gravatar

    “I don’t particularly like belting or showboating, but please pay attention to the positive qualifications that I made about her vocal performance as well.”

    “Your other adjectives describing Caitlin’s presentation really don’t really fit your revision, so I am also perplexed.” I believe I did pay attention.

    Personally, I have never thought that the word “showboating” was a compliment. Reading some of your other posts, it is evident that you are a wordsmith, so you know well how to convey exactly what you think. Gratuitous “belting” certainly can be a turn off. But in this case, and of course my opinion, Caitlin neither gratuitously “belts” nor does she
    “showboat”. She just emotes. I don’t mind the production if I can hear that voice. The steel guitar just echoes the pain that I hear in that voice. I have always loved the pathos in strings however the sound is created, so I don’t mind them either, I might give you the key board.

    No, Caitlin and Will are not Joey and Rory. Joey’s voice has not taken me to the heights that Caitlin’s voice has taken me to, because I like more range. My preference. Had it not been for J&R’s last performance, considering the premise of the contest, they probably should have won and I would have been happy with that cause I loved them, too. They did not win and still they do well. I think there is room for both duets in country music. And besides, some times you feel like a nut and well, what do you know!, some times you don’t!
    Ya don’t have to listen to C&W, ya know.

  17. Everyone,
    Will and I are aware that NOT EVERYONE is going to absolutely love our music, style of singing or look. That is the chance we take everyday with stepping out onto that stage bare for everyone to see our flaws as well as our strengths. That is the chance EVERYONE takes just by walking out of the house! But believe me Will and I very are OK with that.

    As far as this review goes…I’m glad that it was not mentioned that it was about my Aunt Lisa. Leeann is right…a song must stand alone no matter what the story behind it is. My goal in writing this song was not to “impress” anyone or to “fish” for compliments (although all that we have received have touched us deeper than anyone will ever know). Music to me is not all about a review or a grade…it is about getting whatever demons I am struggling with at the time, out onto paper and into music so I personally dont have to deal with it twisting my bowels into knots. Like it or not…I laid my guts out on the table for everyone to see. Do with it what you will. I think my Aunt La would have been proud.

    Annie, as far as Sony struggling with our imaging…it is NOT an issue…if it were, we would have been dropped in December along with the few that had. Here is your truth…Sony, nor did Will or I switch our single. RADIO switched our single.
    We went out on our radio tour the whole month of February. If you dont know how it works I’ll tell you…you go into a conference room or sometimes a kitchen with the Program Director and or Music Director (Sometimes they bring in staff and sometimes they dont) We play 3-5 songs for them, try to get to know them as best we can in under an hour and then leave to go do it all over again. Sometimes 5 stations in one day. At every station we would play Even Now and Address in the Stars. We gave them the single to play which was Even Now and they said “No” we are not playing Even Now we are playing Address in the Stars. The reaction that we were getting from Program Directors, staff and listeners (because sometimes after hearing us they would put us on air) was undeniable. We COULD NOT ignore it. We are proud that radio even took an interest in us to take a stand and switch the single, as far as WIll and I are concerned its an honor. So rest easy…Sony by NO MEANs doesnt know what to do with us…promise

    As for the “belting” and “showboating” comment I will only offer up this…I cant help how I sing, nor will I apologize for it. Nor will I apologize that you dont necessarily love it. To be completely honest I dont like the sound of my own voice. So I am not expecting anyone else to. I just know I love to sing and people dont plug their ears and cringe when I do it.

    And now the production. The production on this song was everything Chris, Hilary, Aimee and I had wanted AND MORE. Going back to the pain I felt…which was dramatic (like everyones is when they lose someone dear to them) this production nailed my pain to a wall. I wont say anymore because I believe it doesnt need defending. And the strings were real.

    I do want to thank you Leeann for reviewing our song. You didnt have to, but you thought enough about us to. Good Bad and Ugly, Will and I appreciate your opinion as we do everyone’s. So thank you…

    And thank you to all who did like Address…(Ive said this before and I will say it forever but I am still dealing with the death of My Aunt Lisa. It hurts this minute as much as it did the day she left us, but hearing reactions to this song, seeing tears well up in peoples eyes, having people come to me and tell me they were touched by this song and being able to hug all of those I meet in person takes a little bit of weight off of my shoulders, it frees me a little bit…Thank you for that…Music heals and I hope this helps…

    Will and I didnt get into the music “business” because of the money, clothes, fame or reviews…we got into it because of the feeling that other artists that we idolize gave to us in times of need and in times of happiness. Thats really all we want to do for others. Pay it forward.

    xoxo Caitlin

  18. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Caitlin,
    Thanks for your response. I’ll just say one thing: I actually really like your voice. I only meant to use “belt” or “showboat” as a description of your nuanced performance. While I freely admit that I typically don’t like it when singers “showboat” for the heck of it, I don’t think you did that here. I have to apologize for making it seem as if there was anything about your vocal performance that I didn’t like. I like how your voice is both strong with flavor, as opposed to many singers who only seem to have the power without the character.

    As for the production, my review of it is exactly how I feel about it. I suppose we’ll have to chalk that one up to differences in taste.

    Good luck and thank you for taking the time and interest to engage us in discussion here.

  19. I like this song a lot – but not nearly as much as ‘Even Now’. But that’s just a personal thing I guess. I would have picked this as my second choice for a single, and then probably ‘Leaves of September’ – another excellent song that can be found on the official Caitlin and Will site.

    I hope radio latched onto this song. The official airdate is March 30. Good luck, you two!

  20. nateNo Gravatar

    hi, i just wanted to say that i have met Caitlin and Will at one of the local radio stations here in havre de grace Maryland. and just wanted to say that me and all other veiwers who attended this little performance all agreed that while they were singing Caitlin had a strong yet beautiful voice and Will had a very encouraging voice and that they could really help influence peoples lives, and personally i believe the song address in the stars is the better of the few songs i heard! just my opinion, all in the last 14 years i have lost my grand parents, my parents and my sister so this song really touches home and again its just my opinion but i believe that address in the stars is the best song out on the radio. and i dont know if Caitlin and Will are going to read this or not but if you guys do then i just want to say thank you for producing this song, and Caitlin im so sorry for your loss. i know exactly how you feel and i know it hurts so bad at times but i want to give you the advice somebody gave me after my parents passed away. dont think of it as a loss or a time of sorrow, but as a time of rejoice for your aunt, she is home now and you will get to see her again one day. right now shes smiling down on you so proud that your doing something so big with your life, proud of the fact that you and Will are influencing everyones life and helping them by spreading your music. i really look forward to meeting you two again someday. you two are awesome, dont ever change! :)

  21. Beth MarshNo Gravatar

    LeeAnn,
    I disagree with everything you said about the production of this song and the fact that you did not give it an A+ . Nothing, and I mean nothing has come out of Nashville with this much emotion in a long time. The production is emotional and beautiful but most of all Caitlin and Will are two of the best singers in years out of Nashville. This song is real emotion. And yea it’s dramatic- life is dramatic. Especially when you lose someone you love with all your heart. My review is A+ perfection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. CMWNo Gravatar

    My review is A+ perfection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    People are welcome to their own opinions, of course, but I think I read somewhere that ending a review with over forty exclamation points automatically nullifies it.

  23. DPONo Gravatar

    I do agree with some reviews that even now is
    a better song. I do not agree that the production
    was over the top. The song is beautifully done.
    Nor do I agree that Caitlin was belting or show-
    boating. A person who belts or showboats, gener-
    ally loses control of the song. Caitlin gave a
    strong performance in this song, as some songs
    require. Luckily for us listeners, she was up
    to the challenge and gave a beautiful perform-
    ance. The only thing I didn’t like in the record-
    ing was that there was basically no Will. Their
    act is called Caitlin and Will, not Caitlin with
    Will on background vocals. Of course I’m not say-
    ing that this is Caitlins fault. It’s the fault
    of the arrangement. It’s really good but it’s
    not Caitlin & Will. Both of these singers are
    winners, and both need to be heard. After all
    they won you can duet, not one of you can sing
    and the other do back up. The even now recording
    was so much better because both singers were
    allowed to show their talents in the song. It’s
    true that Caitlin has a much stronger voice than
    Will, but that’s what makes them such a great
    team. Two strong singers can often become a
    contest of who can out do the other. But what
    makes Caitlin and Will such a great duet team
    is the unique blend of Will’s mellow, soothing
    voice with Caitlin’s strong, emotional voice.
    Don’t hate her cause she sings beautiful, and
    don’t forget Will. They’re a great team. I’m
    looking forward to hearing a lot more out of
    these two in the future. And as far as neither
    of them being one of the beautiful people, like
    a lot of country music artists today; have you
    taken a good look at Zac Brown? He’s a good
    singer ( I particularly like whatever it is ) ,
    But he’s definitely not a looker. Talented yes,
    pretty no. I think they’ll do fine in country
    music, as long as they always remember to only
    release really good material. Save the jam
    sessions for the garage. A lot of performers
    forget that, and record crap that only they
    want to hear, then later wonder what happened
    to their carrers. One hit wonders are not people
    who forgot how to sing, but people who made bad
    choices in their material. If Caitlin and Will
    steer clear of this all too often made mistake,
    they will have long successful careers. They
    certainly have the talent for it, and they’re
    off to a great start. Can’t wait to buy their
    CD.

    DPO

  24. WMCNo Gravatar

    I agree with Annie. I think they need to get their stuff together and get these guys the exposure they need and deserve. I was shocked to see Rorey and whats-his-name on the CMT Video awards. They need to fire their promotion guys and get new ones who can get the job done. I pray that this opportunity isn’t ruined for them.

  25. MarthaNo Gravatar

    This is a true sound sung from the soul……..I feel it in my heart and my gut and to be quite honest, I don’t care what any one else thinks, I know what my country self says….And this has hit all over it………I live in the country and we buy the records, if the need to do better publicity or choose a better manager….well that has nothing to do with this song…

  26. cfisher1504No Gravatar

    Over the top? You must not have lost someone you loved way to soon. My 19 year old son committed suicide this year…Address in the Stars is my story. I have never had lyrics or a voice reach out to me before. I am so thankful for Address in the Stars.

  27. QuintonNo Gravatar

    This song is undoubtedly amazing…..the video, the lyrics, the all around production touched me, seeing as I lost my best friend in a horrific accident in 2004.