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"Road Less Traveled" is a song recorded by American country music singer Lauren Alaina for her 2015 self-titled EP. Alaina co-wrote the song with Jesse Frasure and Meghan Trainor. It was released to country radio through Mercury Nashville and Interscope Records on June 27, 2016 as the EP's second single and officially impacted the format on July 11, 2016.[1][3] The song is also included on her second studio album of the same name (2017), and serves as the record's second single.[4]

"Road Less Traveled"
Lauren Alaina - Road Less Traveled (single cover).jpg
Single by Lauren Alaina
from the album Road Less Traveled
Released July 11, 2016 (2016-07-11)
Format Digital download
Recorded Summer 2014[1]
Genre Country rock[2]
Length 3:36
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) busbee
Lauren Alaina singles chronology
"Next Boyfriend"
(2015)
"Road Less Traveled"
(2016)
"What Ifs"
(2017)
"Next Boyfriend"
(2015)
"Road Less Traveled"
(2016)
"What Ifs"
(2017)

The country rock song explores the concept of staying true to one's self despite insecurities and external pressures. Upon release, the song was praised by critics for its "anthemic" nature as well as Alaina's confidence.[2] "Road Less Traveled" debuted at number 57 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, and has since become Alaina's first number one single. It also charted at numbers 8 and 67 on both the Hot Country Songs and Hot 100 charts respectively. The song has sold 203,000 copies in the United States as of May 2017. It also charted in Canada, reaching number 3 on the Canada Country chart.

An accompanying music video for the song was directed by Chris Hicky.

The song won Alaina a CMT Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year in 2017.

Contents

Background and recordingEdit

"Road Less Traveled" was written in 2013 by Lauren Alaina, Jesse Frasure and Meghan Trainor in Nashville, Tennessee.[1] At the time, Alaina was dealing with the divorce of her parents, bulimia and her father going to rehab for alcoholism. She wanted to write an uplifting song that could inspire others going through similar struggles.[5][6] Trainor was also experiencing insecurities about her figure at the time, telling Billboard in 2014 that she wanted to tell herself and others to "love yourself more".[1] A discussion involving the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken" led the co-writers to land on "Road Less Traveled" as their title. They then wrote the chorus and the hook, "take the road less traveled on," first, which is extremely similar to "Take My Breath Away" by the '80s group Berlin. [1]

The demo was recorded using entirely programmed instrumentation. Busbee, who serves as the record's producer, sought to blend the synthesized instruments with authentic ones to create a soundscape that is radio-friendly but in tune with the song's message.[1] Vocals were recorded in the summer of 2014. Alaina underwent vocal surgery on August 12, 2014 and re-recorded the lead vocals on the song after her recovery.[7] Her vocal range expanded after her surgery with Alaina hitting a big note during the song's bridge that she struggled to reach prior.

CompositionEdit

"Road Less Traveled" is a country rock song which runs for a duration of three minutes and thirty-six seconds.[2] It begins with a banjo played in a "pinging" lick accompanied by hand clapping and an "insistent" kick drum.[1] Musically, the track follows a "four-on-the-floor" beat accentuated by two banjos and a mandolin "twisting" around a "spacey" synth line.[5][1] Producer busbee aimed to blend authentic instrumentation with synthetic sounds for a blend of country and pop styles.[1]

Lyrically, the song is about "feeling good in your own skin" and speaks to a journey of self-acceptance.[6] The titular lyrics were inspired by the popular Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken", in which the narrator chooses a "road less traveled" at a fork in the road.[1] Self-image is addressed in the first verse with references to dress sizes and Alaina imploring the listener not to "let the world decide what's beautiful," alluding to Alaina's own previous struggles with body image.[8] Other lyrics emphasize the importance of staying true to yourself, or "march[ing] to the rhythm of a different drum" and "just own[ing] it".[8] Critics have labelled the song an "anthem" for its empowering message comparing it to Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls" and co-writer Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass".[6][1]

Critical receptionEdit

Billy Dukes of Taste of Country wrote that Alaina "has never sounded more confident" in his "Critic's Pick" review of the single. In particular, Dukes praised the singer's approach to the "anthemic" and "uplifting" message.[2] In a review of the EP, Jason Scott of PopDust complimented the "undeniable" songwriting on "Road Less Traveled" and deemed the track "one of her most alluring performances ever".[9]

Commercial performanceEdit

"Road Less Traveled" debuted at number 57 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart dated September 3, 2016.[10] The following week, the song experienced a significant gain in airplay and audience, due in part to Alaina's selection as the iHeartRadio "On the Verge" artist, which guarantees airplay on the brand's affiliated stations.[11][12] As a result, the song jumped to 28 on the chart dated September 10, 2016, thereby tying "Road Less Traveled" with 2012's "Georgia Peaches" as Alaina's highest-charting song.[13] It has since reached a peak position of number 1, making it her highest-charting single to date and first number one.[14] The song has sold an estimated 220,000 copies in the US as of July 2017.[15]

In Canada, the song debuted at number 50 on the Country airplay chart dated October 15, 2016, earning Alaina her first entry on the chart.[16]

Live performancesEdit

Alaina appeared on The Today Show on September 8, 2016 to perform the song in its television debut.[17]

She also performed her hit at the 2017 CMT Awards.

Music video and movieEdit

The music video was directed by Chris Hicky and premiered in October 2016.[18] The video won her Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2017 CMT Awards. In May 2017, Lauren released a new trailer for her movie based on the song Road Less Traveled. The movie is projected to be out on June 6th. It will be called the Road Less Traveled. It features the songs Road Less Traveled, Doin' Fine, My Kinda People, Painting Pillows, Holding The Other, and Queen of Hearts.

ChartsEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2016–17) Peak
position
Canada Country (Billboard)[16] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 67
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[20] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[21] 8

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2017) Position
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[22] 25
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[23] 47

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various October 2, 2015 Digital download
(as part of Lauren Alaina EP)
19 [24]
United States June 28, 2016 Radio premiere
(via PlayMPE)
[1]
July 11, 2016 Country radio [3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Roland, Tom (August 10, 2016). "Lauren Alaina Literally Finds Her Voice On 'Road Less Traveled'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Dukes, Billy (July 7, 2016). "ToC Critic's Pick: Lauren Alaina, 'Road Less Traveled' [Listen]". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Future Releases for Country Radio Stations". All Access Media Group. Archived from the original on July 6, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Anatomy of a Hit: Lauren Alaina's Literal 'Road Less Traveled'" (PDF). Billboard. April 24, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Freeman, Jon (July 8, 2016). "Lauren Alaina on How Eating Disorder Led to Redemptive New Song". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Konicki, Lisa (August 8, 2016). "Lauren Alaina Overcomes Eating Disorder to Find the "Road Less Traveled"". Nash Country Weekly. Cumulus Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Gayle (October 14, 2014). "Lauren Alaina Had Vocal Surgery in August". The Boot. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Allers, Hannahlee (July 11, 2016). "Lauren Alaina Drops New Single, 'Road Less Traveled' [LISTEN]". The Boot. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  9. ^ Scott, Jason (October 4, 2015). "Lauren Alaina Exudes Confidence, Maturity With Self-Titled EP—Review". PopDust. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Chart Search". Billboard Country Airplay for Lauren Alaina. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  11. ^ Cantor, Brian. "Lauren Alaina's "Road Less Traveled" Reaches #35 On MB Country Radio Chart; Keith Urban's "Blue Ain't Your Color" #36". Headline Planet. Cantortainment. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Lauren Alaina: iHeartRadio On The Verge Artist". iHeartRadio. iHeartMedia. August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Billboard Country Update" (PDF). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  14. ^ Konicki, Lisa (April 8, 2017). "Lauren Alaina Ugly Cries, Then Celebrates After Hearing "Road Less Traveled" Hit The No. 1 Spot". Nash Country Weekly. American Media. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Aggregate Sales Estimates (United States)". Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Lauren Alaina Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "Lauren Alaina performs new single 'Road Less Traveled'" (video). TODAY. NBC. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Lauren Alaina 'Road Less Traveled' Music Video Premiere". iHeartRadio. October 18, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Lauren Alaina Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  20. ^ "Lauren Alaina Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  21. ^ "Lauren Alaina Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Country Airplay Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Amazon.com: Road Less Traveled: Lauren Alaina: MP3 Downloads". Amazon Music. Amazon.com. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 

External linksEdit