NYCS First Impression: Brett Young ‘Ticket To L.A.’
Since the release of his self-titled debut album, Brett Young has been one of country music’s fastest rising stars. Today released the highly anticipated follow-up, Ticket to L.A., produced by Dann Huff and Jimmy Harnen, only furthering his future superstardom. With a soulful voice and a penchant towards heart-wrenching ballads, Young has that undefinable X-factor. His music stands out in the sea of sameness that sometimes plagues other young male country singers, combining powerful lyrics, different tempos, and the delivery of a true storyteller.
“I decided to name the album Ticket to L.A. because flying home to Los Angeles has become such a big part of my life,” Young revealed in a statement to RollingStone.com. “A lot of the first record reflected a kind of hard point in my life when I was moving from Los Angeles to Nashville, but I’m in a completely different place now. I’m so happy, and I think you can really hear that shift on the new record.”
Young co-wrote 10 of the album’s 13 tracks, including the opening title track and the album’s first single, “Here Tonight”. Of the single, Young revealed to entertainment-focus.com “‘Here Tonight’ is about those moments, if you’re lucky enough to have them in your life, that are so good that you wish they could last forever. It’s very light—intentionally—and sonically it’s upbeat. That doesn’t exist as much on the first album, so I wanted to showcase a bit more versatility this time around. I think it’s the perfect way to cap off the summer.”
While Young can do uptempo with the best of them, he truly shines on the mid-tempos and ballads. “Catch” is a highlight of the album, both lyrically and musically as seen in the video above from an early sneak peek of the track during a special Nash FM 94.7 Up Close & Country event. Co-written by Young, Ashley Gorley, and Ross Copperman, “Catch” is about a person who unexpectedly changes your life. The writers here use the word “catch” creatively, formulating a masterful chorus, “I thought that I’d catch a buzz, catch a game / Catch up with the boys the same old thing / Catch a cab back to my place / But then I saw your face / Now you got me trying to / Catch you a ride, catch your name / Catch a spark and start a flame.”
One of the album’s highlights is “Chapters,” which features Young’s idol and mentor, Gavin DeGraw. The track, co-written by Young, Copperman, and DeGraw, is a reflection on the various chapters of one’s life, including Young’s idolization of his father and his baseball career-ending injury. “Every page you’ve turned/ is a lesson learned / and we all, and we all/ just trying to get it right/ These are the chapters of my life,“ DeGraw adds the last verse of the song, and his background vocals on the final chorus of the song compliment Young’s perfectly, and this is truly a magical musical moment.
Other highlights of the album, include “Change Your Name” (Ross Copperman, Matt Jenkins, Jon Nite), which should become a huge wedding song. Alternatively, there’s the heart-breaking “The Ship And The Bottle,” (Nicolle Galyon, Chase McGill, Jon Nite) about letting someone go, as to not hold them back. The ship and the bottle metaphor is used exceptionally throughout this track, perfectly conveying the song’s sad sentiment. “You just might have to break me/ to do what you’re meant to do/ You’re the ship, I’m the bottle/ And I can’t do that to you.” Additionally, the subtle use of a phrase from The Police’s “Message in a Bottle” is a unique and clever way to conclude the track.
The album closes with “Don’t Wanna Write This Song,” a melancholy ballad co-written by Young, Zach Crowell and “Mercy” co-writer, Sean McConnell. “Maybe the hardest part/ Is we didn’t break this heart/ Nobody cheated or lied/ I still have to live with goodbye/ But how can I just move on?/ I’ve loved you for way too long/ I don’t want to admit that you’re gone/ I don’t want to write this song.” While this may immediately seem like a breakup song, the lyrics go so much deeper, and the album’s last verse are sure to raise goosebumps as Young deals with the ultimate loss.
With an undeniable talent for turning a phrase and an unmatched voice, Young is poised for hit after hit with this new album. There’s no sign of a sophomore slump here, and on Ticket to L.A, Brett Young offers an utterly delightful and delicious piece of perfectly-crafted pop country.
Ticket to L.A. is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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