Single Review: Lauren Alaina, "Eighteen Inches"

Lauren Alaina’s “American Idol” legacy can be summed up in one phrase: failure to meet potential. The Season 10 runner-up kicked off her “Idol” run with a fiery display of vocal talent, but she was never able to match that confidence or sense of identity in subsequent live performances. Worse yet, her “Idol” catalogue stood in stark contrast to that of winner and fellow country artist Scotty McCreery, whose best strength was his firm grasp of self.

It’s surprising, then, that Alaina’s debut album Wildflower is one of the most authentic post- “Idol” country albums to date – a collection of tasteful, age-appropriate pop-country songs, “Georgia Peaches” withstanding. Her current single is topped only by one album gem that’s unlikely to see the light of radio.

“Eighteen Inches” treads no new ground for country music: Teenage lovers defy their parents, jet out of town and create a life of their own that includes a new baby. But its hook sums up the root of this familiar story better than most: “There ain’t no greater distance than the 18 inches from your head to your heart” is a keen description of the power of love. Thanks to an evocative melody, this sentiment –and Alaina’s performance– soars.

Alaina is a naturally gifted vocalist, possessing a voice that can tell a story simply through its shades and intricacies, much like that of “Eighteen Inches” co-writer Carrie Underwood.  It’s a testament to this skill that she’s able to flip the Martina McBride-style power ballad into one with undertones of gritty teenage emotion. She approaches the song with youthful poise, but injects it with just enough teenage angst to crack the gloss of the pop-country arrangement.

Written by Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace and Carrie Underwood

Grade: B+

Listen: Eighteen Inches




  1. I very much agree. The storyline is not original in itself, but a great hook goes a long way. I didn’t care for either of Alaina’s first two singles, but this one I’m on board with. Great description of Alaina’s vocal gifts, by the way.

  2. Totally agree with the review. I think this and Dirt Road Prayer are the best songs on a very solid debut album for this young lady. Also very fond of Tupelo, which I originally hoped would be the summer single, but 18 Inches is in many ways just a superior song to Tupelo. Hoping radio will give it a chance. We all know they aren’t very interested in females not named Carrie, Miranda or Taylor, but occasionally they let another one join the fun. I’m hoping they take a liking to this one.

  3. I just really like the “there’s no greater distance than the eighteen inches from your head to your heart.” That’s a really good lyric. How had no one ever put it like that before? (Unless it has been said before, but I’m drawing a blank here.)

  4. I love the lyrics of “Eighteen Inches”!

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