After the release of her record breaking debut offering ‘The First Time’, Kelsea Ballerini is back with her sophomore album ‘Unapologetically’ which is due for release on November 3rd through Sony Music. Kelsea wrote each of the album’s twelve tracks and the record takes the listener on a journey throughout the past two years of the singers life, bringing stories of loss, heartbreak and falling in love to life.
On the haunting opening track Graveyard Ballerini states ‘I was falling fast/Now I’m just a dash between two dates’, comparing the dates of her dead relationship to the dash between two dates on a headstone, this powerful opener will resonate with anybody who has experienced loss. Miss Me More is anthemic nod to independence after ending things with a controlling ex. The track displays a more pop side to the singer relying heavily on programmed drum beats and synths, which are present on a number of tracks throughout the record.
An early highlight is Roses which she’s performed live for a while now. The studio recording doesn’t disappoint in this catchy up-tempo number that lyrically looks back on fond memories of a past relationship, whilst being positive about the future and being able to move on. Written alongside Jimmy Robbins and Shane McAnally In Between is an acoustic guitar and piano driven track that builds to a steady beat. Lyrics include ‘Sometimes I’m my Mother’s daughter, sometimes I’m her friend/Sometimes I play grown up and sometimes I play pretend’ – a voicemail recording from her Mum features towards the end of the track giving it the cute factor. High School is full of nostalgia and is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s confessional songs she wrote early in her career. It was penned solely by Kelsea shortly after the deadline for her debut record had passed.
‘The sky kept falling but we danced in it/I was done with love but second chanced it’ she admits on the sweet End Of The World. Here she sings about falling in love again with fellow country star Morgan Evans to whom she is now engaged to. The cleverly worded I Hate Love Songs pokes fun at the clichés of love such as ‘pink cards with glitter’ and how you would die if your heart really skipped. There is a serious side in the chorus which sees her admitting that ‘I hate love songs/Yeah I really do/I hate love songs/ But I love you.’ The title track has Ballerini declaring she’s now ‘Unapologetically in love’ coming full circle from all the heartbreak she detailed at the start of the record, while penultimate track Music draws parallels to love and music. The closing track Legends was the lead single from the project the upbeat song opens with a slow dance like melody before erupting into the sweet country/pop style we’re all familiar with.
Overall the album is far more mature than her previous one both musically and lyrically. She still has that ability to blend storytelling and twang with beats that could easily cross over into other genres.
Buy the album Unapologetically on Amazon.