If you’re looking for a record that is honest, raw, and relatable with a delightfully unique perspective, look no further than Kalie Shorr’s debut record Open Book. The new project gives us a front row seat into the songstress’ life experiences, her thoughts, and her feelings, all wrapped up with pretty melodies and enticing vocals. Shorr delivers an impressive melding of genres while remaining true to her songwriter roots, co-writing and co-producing each and every one of the 13 tracks.
The record begins with the essence of an old-western instrumental in “Too Much To Say,” but it is the opening line that packs quite the punch. The track sets the tone for the rest of the album, as Shorr exclaims in the opening lyrics, “I’ve never been worse, thanks for asking / Is it making you nervous, all this honesty?!,” only to add later that she’s an “open book.” She reminisces again in “Big Houses,” a cut that comes later on the tracklist that depicts positive moments with her mother, while still having a somber layer of wishing to be anywhere but ‘here’.
“Escape” and “Messy” follow the first song. The former is the listener’s first introduction to her demons. She unapologetically attests to how her struggles in her childhood led her to seek love in the wrong places and to find her own version of an escape. She sings, “Everybody needs an escape / And mine was leaving.” The later also shows off Shorr’s vocals. In “Messy,” the singer-songwriter plays with her vocal range while seeking answers as to why her relationship ended the way it did.
Shorr continues to explore how she felt in a former relationship in “The One.” Between the clever wordplay and tempo-changes, “The One” is a stand-out song on the tracklist. For different reasons, “F U Forever” is arguably one of the most impressive songs off the project. In the upbeat jam, the songstress empowers women to wear their heartbreak and vulnerability like a badge of honor.
Her impressive use of wordplay and expressive singing is apparent again in “Alice in Wonderland.” Besides being cleverly titled, the song is another explorative track with strong imagery about wanting to escape from a bad relationship. Relating the song to the movie ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is not only brilliant but reminds us all of our vulnerabilities. “Wonder if you’re good enough / Or if you’re the only one / You wonder if he’s lying again.”
As we delve deeper into Shorr’s masterpiece, she openly shares her grieving process with us in “The World Keeps Spinning.” In memory of her late sister, the singer laments about how hard it is to get through a day, when you lose someone you love, “The sky didn’t even have the decency to cry / And that damn sun / Still found a way to shine / When my heartaches hitting / I think it’s kinda cruel that the world keeps spinning.” The powerful ballad is for anyone that has ever experienced loss.
After tugging at our heartstrings, Shorr switches gears and delivers three more upbeat tracks that fans of recent Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette would love. In “Gatsby,” she sings the sarcastic sentiment, “people like me because I’m happy.” The song rivals the Morissette classic “Ironic.” As for, “Thank God You’re a Man,” the play of tempos feel like Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” or “Red” by Swift. It will have you singing along after just one listen. Finally, “Vices” will have you relating to Shorr’s struggles with her “vices” and hopefully help you to give yourself compassion for not always making the ‘right’ decisions.
Continuing to play with the gamut of emotions, Shorr shares her journey through heartbreak in her current radio single “Lullaby”. The ethereal song was inspired by the end of a six-year relationship. She takes us through the process of moving on both lyrically and rhythmically. The beautiful track begins with just Shorr’s voice shining through an acoustic guitar evolving into a full instrumental backing track. She sings “This is the sound of letting it go / of learning to sleep and your sleeping alone / of figuring it out how to love when you don’t.”
The record ends with “Angry Butterfly.” The obscure titled song begins with heavier guitars and polarizing vocals. Shorr admits to being a ‘walking contradiction,’ relishing in the “beauty in the breakdown.” It’s the perfect way to bookmark a thoughtful and innovative debut.
Open Book is a catalog of songs for the individual, who is looking to find healing in the music. As Shorr shared in a recent press release, “These songs are like three minute journal entries,” adding, “I’m happy to have the freedom to share my truth on this album.” Shorr’s refreshing perspective is one that will surely resonate with music fans across many genres, but her niche at perfectly speaking her truth, while still standing up for women is arguably what will keep her successful in the industry for a long time to come.
To catch some of these songs live along with your favorite cover songs, come to our Manhattan By Sail on October 11th where we will feature Kalie Shorr as our musical guest. More information and tickets available here.
Open Book 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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