'Don't Let Me Be Lonely,' the third single from the Band Perry's 'Pioneer' album, is thematically similar to their biggest hit, but few will confuse this song with 'If I Die Young.' The latest track may not be as instantly catchy, but it's every bit the sharp songwriting effort the cut from the trio's debut album was.

Loss of youthful innocence is behind the lyrics of the follow-up to 'Done.' Kimberly Perry is a talented vocalist capable of projecting a wide variety of emotions, but vulnerability may be what she does best. Producer Dann Huff is wise to give her plenty of space, including a breakdown before the song's final chorus during which she delivers the most heartbreaking of lyrics:

"When you're young / Life's a dream / It's a beautiful and a burning thing / We grow up / And then it's gone / But the memory goes on and on," she sings.

The romance angle is somewhat forced and never fully realized, leaving the overall message a little cloudy. Truthfully, 100 different fans may have 100 different ways to explain 'If I Die Young,' as well. Subtle obfuscation has served the Band Perry well. The sharper moments come describing the passage of time and tragedy of growing up:

"Well the night rolls on like a long lost friend / 'Til the sunrise bleeds like the bitter end / Don't let me be lonely."

The Sarah Buxton, Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins-penned chorus goes: "So don't let me be, let me be, let me be lonely tonight / While we're young and alive / Take the keys to my car and the keys to my heart and just drive / Oh don't let me, let me be lonely." Those words are not the highlight, but they provide a melodic hook to remember.

Make it a point to notice the little things, like how Neil and Reid are used as backing vocalists, not just as harmonies for Kimberly, but as individual singers. The inflection the lead singer puts on words like "grace" is a tiny detail, but it's one of many that make this recording special.

'Don't Let Me Be Lonely' is a great recording of a good song. It's tricky to return to a style that was so successful without being accused of creating a sequel, but the family band finds that sweet spot on this track that's sure to be considered among their Top 5 best for years to come.

4.5 Stars

Listen to the Band Perry, 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely'

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