Review: Kelsea Ballerini ‘Unapologetically’ delivers sophomore album

Story by LB Rogers / Contributing Writer

It seems as though Kelsea Ballerini has finally embraced the pop country title she has been given with her brand new album, “Unapologetically.”

By sticking true to her honest, southern lyricism and including more electronic sounds to the sonic landscape of this record, Ballerini’s sophomore album is sure to yield some hits. Like the title of the record suggests, Ballerini is unapologetically herself in this project.

The record opens with the clever Ballerini songwriting we all know and love with the line, “I don’t want to be another skeleton in your closet.” This morbid imagery in “Graveyard” paints the picture of a womanizing man and his graveyard of hearts he’s broken: a scene many know and can relate to.

Things take a drastic turn in “Miss Me More.” Written with prolific pop-rock songwriters David Hodges and Leland, “Miss Me More” is a girl power anthem that is already gaining speed on Spotify and Apple Music. Ballerini promoted the song a few days early on her Instagram with an impromptu music video made from her tour bus. 

Feeding off that brassy side, “Get Over Yourself” is a sharp follow up to “Miss Me More.” Her quick and catchy dialogue is sure to resonate with fans getting over their exes, once they learn the words, that is.

Songs like “Roses” and “Legends” paint the picture of young, wild and unpredictable love that Ballerini seems to do so well, while “In Between” and “Music” really display her maturity into the music industry and in life.

Being the only song on the record solely written by Ballerini, “High School” is based on her hometown alma mater in Knoxville, Tennessee. The song includes audio from a Central High School football game and the music video was even filmed at the stadium where Ballerini used to cheer for the Bobcats.  

Songs like “Machine Heart” and “End of the World” provide more picturesque metaphors to love and love lost. Both with considerably stripped down elements, Ballerini vocals float over the music effortlessly.

A fan-favorite and perhaps the best-written song on the record sits in Ballerini’s “I Hate Love Songs.” The slow and steady beat and her nursery-rhyme phrasing create the perfect contradiction to the sweetly sarcastic lyrics. The ending line, “I hate long songs, but I love you,” provides the perfect segue to the next song and title-track to the album, “Unapologetically.” Written by Ballerini, Forest Glen Whitehead and renowned country music songwriter Hillary Lindsey, “Unapologetically” is predicted to be her next big hit.

The record ends with “Legends,” a single released in June that provided the first taste fans got of the new album. It has been streamed over 14 million times since it’s release and serves as the perfect bookend to the record with the ending, “we wrote our own story,” demonstrating the growth and hard work Ballerini has put into making this hit-saturated record.

Ballerini has admitted on several occasions that she wrote over 100 songs before picking the 12 that made it onto the record, but judging by the fans’ love for these 12 tracks, Ballerini chose right.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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