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Standout Track: No. 7, “Crazy Completely,” a reggae-tinged pop song that wouldn’t sound out of place on a No Doubt album. With a lilting delivery that’s both flirty and dangerous, singer Lena Esposito, 34, expresses the frustration of a recently dumped woman. “We wanted to talk about a girl who loses her—excuse my French—shit,” says Esposito.
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Musical Motivation: The lyrics, which describe unbridled rage, jealousy, and car-keying, don’t echo anything from Esposito’s life—she and song coauthor/guitarist Chris Brownelle have a relatively drama-free marriage, she says. Rather, they gathered inspiration from an American Idol winner known for her vengeance anthems. “I don’t know why [Brownelle] was tapping into a Carrie Underwood influence,” says Esposito. “I guess it’s because it’s a soulful song, and she has a very soulful voice.”
Bomb Pop: Despite its touchstones, Jukebox Serenade lists more toward rock than pop—especially when the band plays live shows, says Esposito. However, producer Jim Ebert (who has worked with “Bitch” singer Meredith Brooks, among others) reined in the four-piece band with synth tracks and Los Angeles indie pop polish. It was his idea to kick off the album with a tinny melody sampled from the ice cream truck that circles Esposito’s Centerville, Va., neighborhood, she says. “We wanted to definitely make everyone know that you are getting ready to listen to a lively, happy, poppy CD,” Esposito says. “After the CD was done, we would hear the ice cream truck going around and we thought someone was playing our CD, and then we were like, ‘Oh wait, it’s the actual ice cream truck.’”