BRELAND: ‘Cross Country’ – Debut Album Review
BRELAND’s brand new debut album, Cross Country is out now, September 9th on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.
On his new album, Cross Country, Breland continues to stretch the limits of country music, offering his special blend of country, hip hop, Gospel, and pop. Throughout his Atlantic Records debut, the singer weaves his unique upbringing over fourteen tracks that enlist some of country’s biggest names. Collaborations here include Ingrid Andress, Thomas Rhett, Lady A, Keith Urban, and Mickey Guyton.
For the New Jersey native, Cross Country is as much of an official introduction to the genre as it is a glaring affirmation that he’s right where he belongs. On the eclectic collection, he flexes genres, effortlessly bending the rules in the best ways possible.
While Breland could easily launch the album with a more traditional country-leaning song, he sets the tone for the collection with the Andress duet, a breezy ode to friendship that has the most glorious hints of the Bill Withers’ classic, “Lean On Me.” Unlike most male-female duets, “Here For It” isn’t one about romance, but instead the best kind of platonic love. The pair trade verses on the song, riffing “Anytime you need a friendly pick me up, I’ll be waiting right outside // You know I’m here for it.”
Collaborations are definitely a high point of the album, including the hand-raising, foot-stomping Gospel jubilance that is “Praise the Lord.” Here, Breland joins forces with Thomas Rhett as the duo celebrates the things in life they’re most thankful for.
“Praise the Lord for southern women, Hemi engines, crispy chicken // Praise the Lord for east Atlanta, Country Grammar, and my nana // Praise the Lord that I got everything I want and need and more // I might turn up on Saturday but first thing Sunday morn’ // I praise the Lord”
Other collabs here include “Told You I Could Drink,” with Lady A and “Throw It Back” with Keith Urban. While the former is a soulful and radio-ready ode to drowning one’s sorrows over lost love, the latter is one of the most unique tracks on the album, melding a rap verse with Urban’s classic guitar sounds.
On the Lady A duet, Breland seamlessly becomes the fourth member of the supergroup, harmonizing with Charles, Hillary, and Dave in a way that’s magically effortless. Likewise, the album’s title track is an effervescent harmonic highlight, as Breland trades vocals with the golden-voiced Mickey Guyton. The track tells the tale of the singers searching for a place they belong, truly a fitting moment for a pair of two perceived misfits in the genre. “I’m going cross country // I won’t stop running ’til I find where I belong,” they harmonize. “I’m going cross country // Know they might judge me, I ain’t gotta prove ’em wrong.”
While the album may be loaded with duets, there’s also plenty of room for Breland to shine on his own. On his recent single, “Natural,” he pays homage to Shania Twain’s classic “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by melding pieces of the actual track with his own lyrics. “It’s awesome seeing the resurgence of ’90s country and its influence on today’s new music. I’ve noticed a lot of people have been taking inspiration from a lot of male artists, so I wanted to sample one of country music’s most influential females,” he reveals in a statement.
Songs like “Thick” and “County Line” have more of an R&B tint than some others, with the latter celebrating the rising star’s New Jersey upbringing over an endlessly catchy hook. Meanwhile, “Happy Song” is far from it, Breland singing “Our song ain’t a happy song no more.”
On the album’s final track, “Alone at the Ranch,” Breland pays homage to the smooth R&B songs of the 90’s, channeling his inner Usher as he uses his falsetto on the slow jam. While lyrically, the track may dabble in country, it’s pure R&B as Breland croons, “Alone at the ranch // Baby let me work with my hands // If you want to saddle up // Just the two of us // Make a lot of love // A little country romance // We can, alone at the ranch.”
For Breland, Cross Country is truly an eclectic mix of sounds that meld together in the most unexpected, yet harmonious, manner.
BRELAND – Cross Country Track List:
- Here For It ft. Ingrid Andress
- Country Line
- Praise The Lord ft. Thomas Rhett
- Told You I Could Drink ft. Lady A
- For What It’s Worth
- Happy Song
- Growing Pains
- Throw It Back ft. Keith Urban
- Cross Country ft. Mickey Guyton
- Good For You
- Don’t Look At Me
- Alone At The Ranch
Country Swag Picks:
- Here For It (w/ Ingrid Andress)
- Told You I Could Drink (w/ Lady A)
Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future Breland releases.
To keep up with BRELAND, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Mr. Saturday Night is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.