Matt Stell: ‘Born Lonely’ – Debut Album Review

Matt Stell shares debut album, Born Lonely, out now, June 7th, on all streaming platforms. Listen to the brand new project below.

While Matt Stell has already made a name for himself with hits like “Prayed For You” and “Everywhere But On,” the singer-songwriter has yet to put out a full length album. That changes now with the release of his debut, Born Lonely, out now.

Featuring ten new songs co-written by the Arkansas native, Born Lonely is Stell’s step forward as an artist. Released via RECORDS Nashville, the collection features well-known co-writers including Ray Fulcher, Chris DeStefano, Jaron Boyer, Jon Nite, and Jordan Minton.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Born Lonely,” shares Stell in a statement. “When I started writing these songs, I decided to tell the truth – the good, the bad, the fun, the sad, all of it – and see what happened. It turned into the best batch of songs I’ve ever recorded.”

Stell kicks off the album with “Built by Broken Hearts,” an introspective and autobiographical tale of his upbringing in a broken home, detailing the Walmart parking lot handoffs between his parents, splitting him between Arkansas and Florida. He admits that he’s a bit damaged from his raising, making him the broken man he is now. “That’s why it feels like I’m home when I’m hurtin’ // It feels right when I’m falling apart, he sings. “You understand why you’re made for goodbye // When you’re built by broken hearts.”

The album’s title track shares a similar sentiment, one that resonated so strongly with the singer that he tattooed it on his arm. “In a way that I have scar tissue from things that happened when I was a kid, and from the relationships that I have sabotaged, messed up, or have chosen poorly in terms of fit, there’s collateral damage,” he admits “This tattoo is a permanent reminder of where I have been and how I want to change for my future.”

While the song may tell a sad tale up front, it also finds Stell reckoning with his past and looking forward towards a brighter future. It’s truly a special moment for the singer, an anthem for the broken hoping to break that pattern.

“I think that you were born lonely // You wanna fall in love but you don’t know how // Hold back ’cause you think it’s only // Just a matter of time before it all goes south // Heartbreak hurts worse than goodbye // And that’s why you do what you always do // I think that you were born lonely // And I know ’cause I was born lonely too”

“Girl Gets Gone” and “Into the Sunrise” continue that anthemic vibe, soaring guitars accompanying his soaring vocals as he proclaims, “Into the sunrise, Burn through the moonlight, Baby, ’cause all night just won’t be enough.” With its boisterous proclamation and catchy hook, this track is just made for a live stage.

Alternatively, “Girl Gets Gone’ juxtaposes heartbroken lyrics with roaring guitars, drowning his sorrows on a bar stool, admitting “When a girl gets gone, the boy does too.” 

“What We Do Best” is a flirty and soulful ode to a toxic on-and-off again relationship that can’t seem to quit. We’re the worst at pretending we’re nothing but friends,” He croons cheekily over bluesy guitars, inviting a woman to “do what they do best.”

“Take the Girl” is a hip-pop tinted jaunt about the buzz of new love, finding Stell a changed man thanks to the high that only someone special can provide. Meanwhile, “Breakin’ in Boots” finds him realizing that a girl is walking her cowboy boots over his heart. Partially inspired by a real-life run-in, he details a “cowboy killer” who will “burn you like the Bourbon in the bottle she’s shooting.”

“Smooth” provides a truly special moment on the album, Stell admitting, “My life got rough when my hands got smooth” after his family sold their farm. It’s a simple and sparse ballad, twangy guitars and shakers punctuating his confessional delivery. “Now the daily grind it never stops, I got an empty soul and a full inbox.”

“When they cut the trees down and dug up my roots // Now I’m stressed in loafers instead of sweating in boots // The price per acre can’t change the truth // My life got rough when my hands got smooth.”

“Hard Stuff” and “Cold Beer at a Time” are both catchy mid-tempos that use alcohol in different ways. While “Hard Stuff” finds him nursing both the bottle and a broken heart, “Cold Beer” is the album’s closing track that finds him looking towards the future. Here, Stell almost sounds buoyant and optimistic as he looks ahead, having left his emotional baggage on the earlier tunes. A little more sip than shoot, A little more chill than makin’ moves,” he muses airily. I’m getting by and taking life, One cold beer at a time.”

While Matt Stell could’ve continued to achieve success with breakup tunes and simple love songs, he looked inward on Born Lonely, releasing his best music to date.

Born Lonely Track List:

  1. Built by Broken Hearts (Matt Stell, Seth Alley, James McNair)
  2. Breakin’ in Boots (Matt Stell, Nate Cyphert, Joe Fox, Ben Stennis)
  3. Born Lonely (Matt Stell, Jake Mitchell, Benjy Davis)
  4. Girl Gets Gone (Matt Stell, Joe Fox, Jordan Minton, Travis Wood)
  5. Into the Sunrise (Matt Stell, Chris DeStefano, Kyle Sturrock)
  6. Smooth (Matt Stell, Chris DeStefano)
  7. The Hard Stuff (Matt Stell, Ray Fulcher, Jared Mullins)
  8. What We Do Best (Matt Stell, Andrew DeRoberts, Jon Nite, Kyle Sturrock)
  9. Take the Girl (Matt Stell, Chris DeStefano, Joe Fox, Nate Cyphert)
  10. One Cold Beer at a Time (Matt Stell, Jaron Boyer, John Marlin)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Born Lonely
  2. Girl Gets Gone
  3. Smooth
  4. Into the Sunrise

Matt Stell shares debut album, ‘Born Lonely,’ out now on all streaming platforms.

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Born Lonely 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.