Trouble (Bonnie McKee album)

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Trouble
Studio album by Bonnie McKee
Released September 28, 2004
Recorded 2002–2003
Genre Pop, pop rock
Length 50:37
Label Reprise
Producer Rob Cavallo, Antonina Armato and Bob Power
Bonnie McKee chronology
Trouble
(2004)
TBA SPRING (2014)
Singles from Trouble
  1. "Trouble"
    Released: 2004
  2. "Somebody"
    Released: 2004
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]

Trouble is the debut album of American singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee, released in September 2004. The songs were written when she was aged 14–15, and reflect events in her life at the time. McKee had produced six of these in demo form in 2001, and they were broadcast on Seattle radio stations as well as the National Public Radio network.

McKee had essentially completed the album in New York City with Bob Power as producer, when Reprise asked her to record "Somebody" with Rob Cavallo in California. Pleased with the more layered sound, she decided to re-record all but "January" and "I Hold Her". This delayed the album's release by a year.

Singles[edit]

Two singles were released from the album—the title track "Trouble" and "Somebody". The latter had featured on the soundtrack album of Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004).

Reception[edit]

Johnny Loftus of Allmusic gave an mixed-negative review, saying "McKee's lyrics about adolescent empowerment and the ways of the heart aren't too different from what's already out there. But the songs still share the album's affected quality. It's as if the quirkier arrangements are intended as image builders, designed to add a spunky flair to the tousled, sassy McKee. Pop music doesn't require very much substance -- it's meant to be inviting, familiar, and easily accessible. But while Bonnie McKee's debut features an ultra-modern sound that's been proven successful, its homogenization ends up working against it. Pretty but ultimately empty, Trouble doesn't establish McKee as anything more than another hopeful"[2]

"Lead single "Trouble," "January," and "When It All Comes Down" all pulse along on electronic percussion and multiple layers of crackling guitar effects, and McKee is surrounded by multiple vocal tracks. Slower material like "Sensitive Subject Matter" and the ballad "Honey" do showcase her voice, which is stronger and more expressive than many of her peers. But the warmth in McKee's vocals and "Honey"'s piano and horns are at odds with a programmed artificiality that generally makes Trouble's vitality fade. The bluesy arrangement of "Green Grass" is a nice touch; it's like a slicker version of Joss Stone's style. And the rangy acoustic guitar effects of "A Voice That Carries" complement nicely its modern cowgirl mosey".[2]

Commerical Performance[edit]

However, despite good reviews, the album had disappointing sales and McKee was subsequently dropped from Reprise Records. McKee spoke about the album being unsuccessful, saying "It was devastating when the album didn't happen," she said. "I realized there are so many steps from getting a deal to having a hit...and I didn't get there. It was a huge letdown."[3]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Trouble"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • Mark Batson
  • Dawaun Parker
  • Che Pope
  • Andre Young
  • Shawn Carter


4:05
2. "When It All Comes Down"  
  • Bonnie Mckee


4:08
3. "Open Your Eyes"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • John Wetton
  • Geoff Downes


5:04
4. "Somebody"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • Robert Orrall
  • Al Anderson


4:12
5. "A Voice That Carries"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
4:48
6. "Honey"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • Leroy Bonner
  • Willie Beck
  • James Williams
  • Marvin Pierce
  • Marshall Jones
  • Ralph Middlebrooks
  • Clarence Satchell
4:45
7. "Green Grass"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
4:22
8. "January"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • David Paton


4:10
9. "Marble Steps"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
4:30
10. "Sensitive Subject Matter"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
4:05
11. "I Hold Her"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
  • Lou Reed
3:12
12. "Confessions Of A Teenage Girl"  
  • Bonnie Mckee
3:00
Total length:
50:23

Credits[edit]

  • Bonnie McKee - vocals, keyboards
  • Paul Bushnell - bass on 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10
  • Rob Cavallo - acoustic guitar on 1, 10, 12; electric guitar on 2
  • Greg Curtis - 3 (Hammond organ) on 4
  • Dan Chase - Pro Tools on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12; programming on 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12
  • Luis Conte - percussion on 1, 2
  • Eric Ferguson - Pro Tools on 5, 6, 10
  • Bashiri Johnson - percussion on 11
  • Robbie Kondor - piano on 11
  • Abe Laboriel Jr. - drums on 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10
  • Doug McKean - Pro Tools on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12
  • David McKelvy - harmonica on 2
  • Tommy Morgan - harmonica on 5
  • Jamie Muhoberac - keyboards on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Gary Novak - drums on 5, 6, 10
  • Tim Pierce - guitars on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12
  • Doug Petty - piano on 8
  • Bob Power - guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion on 8, 11
  • Buddy Schaub - horns on 6
  • Pete Wallewski - horns on 6
  • Patrick Warren - chamberlin on 4
  • Emma Kummrow, Igor Szwec, Gloria Justen, Olga Konopelsky, Ghislaine Fleischmann, Gregory Tepperman - violin on 11
  • Davis Barnett, Peter Nocella - viola on 11
  • Jennie Lorenzo, James Cooper III - cello on 11

Production[edit]

  • "January" and "I Hold Her":
    • Producer - Bob Power
    • Recording - Lindsay Marcus, Bob Power, Blair Wells, David Winslow
    • Mixing - Dan Chase ("January"); Bob Power, Blair Wells ("I Hold Her")
  • All other tracks:
    • Producer - Rob Cavallo
    • Co-producer - Antonina Armato
    • Recording - Dan Chase, Doug McKean, Allen Sides
    • Mixing - Chris Lord-Alge, Tom Lord-Alge

References[edit]