Cam’s album has come at the perfect time. Despite the initially low sales of her EP Welcome to Cam Country, it received significant attention on the streaming service Spotify, in addition to its second single Burning House placing high on the varying Country-focused charts as tracked by Billboard. Given the strength of the EP, the presence of its songs on the album is much appreciated; even better, however, is the fact that the new material on Untamed is mostly just as solid.
The songs from Welcome to Cam Country serve as a perfect guide for some of the new tracks on Untamed. The dark, frenetic country beat of Runaway Train and the light-hearted, infectious hooks of My Mistake remain the most instantly appealing cuts of the album. They also give way to the blues-infused style of the title track Untamed and the sassy callout to upper-class country musicians Country Ain’t Never Been Pretty, the other new tracks that match the energy and style of Welcome to Cam Country. These easily make up the stronger half of Untamed, in part thanks to the lack of any major pop influence; other tracks are not as lucky, with Mayday and Hungover On Heartache feeling out of place and unnecessary with their pop influence.
There’s no doubt that her other strength lies in ballads, though; the popularity of Burning House proves as such. The synth-covered country ballad Cold In California drives the point even further home, putting a spin on the ballads that’s definitely welcome, and compliments her vocals more so than some of the heavier country tracks do. The defining moment of Untamed, however, is Village; a touching, sentimental ballad that strips everything back and allows Cam to openly bare her soul to the listener, perfectly sealing the deal and leaving you satisfied once the album’s finished.
Had the few pop-influenced additions not been present on Untamed, it would have been as close to a perfect country package as you could hope for; while they’re certainly not terrible, they largely buckle under the superior material that surrounds them. Cam’s talents and specialties are still readily apparent across the album though, and as such it’s easily one of 2015’s strongest country offerings. Untamed may not be a complete masterpiece, but it’s clear to see that Cam has the potential to create one within her.