NYCS First Impression: Kelsea Ballerini Releases ‘Unapologetically’
After her debut album soared and the first three songs she released hit the top of the charts, one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year is Kelsea Ballerini’s follow-up record, Unapologetically. With what seems like a bit of a whirlwind career in such a short time, Ballerini has written her music alongside some of the industry’s best songwriters for years, perfecting her craft and building her fan base.
The sophomore project features a deeper look into who Ballerini is, her persona and will have fans of “Yeah Boy” and “Love Me Like You Mean It” loving her new spin on her pop-country princess-vibes. It feels like this record has evolved with Ballerini herself, going from liking boys to loving them, leaving childish things behind and growing up to be a strong adult in the music business. Releasing The First Time when she was merely 21 years old, those next few years of your life are crucial to shaping who you will be and what your career looks like. For Ballerini, writing about her life and what she is going through comes naturally. “It starts with loss, and it goes into life, and then it goes into love; it’s the story of my life over the last few years,” she says of the record.
The album truly follows in that order, if you listen straight through it tells like a good novel, starting with breakups, finding yourself again and then eventually opening up to a new love.
Kicking off the album, “Graveyard” and “Miss Me More” are a refreshing look at a break-up song, deciding to choose yourself over a relationship that isn’t working. It’s a strong outlook to give the young girls who fill out Ballerini’s fan base. “High School” and “In Between” are definite highlights on Unapologetically, the lyrics are honest, raw and illustrate how best to navigate growing up. The latter takes a close look at those years between childhood and adulthood where life can be confusing, something that a ton of her fans will identify with.
Sometimes I’m my mother’s daughter, sometimes I’m her friend / sometimes I play grown up and sometimes I play pretend / Sometimes I’m a princess dressed all ribbons and all curls and sometimes I just want to scream I’m not a little girl / Dumb enough to think I know it all, smart enough to know I don’t / Young enough to think I’ll live forever, old enough to know I won’t / In the in between”
Other stand-outs are the first single off the project, “Legends” which is the last track on the album and “I Hate Love Songs”, a real look at the sappy songs dedicated to love, she flips the concept on its head. Ballerini gets real about hearts skipping a beat and the cliche’ of Cupid and honeymoon phase. “I hate love songs, yeah I really do, I hate love songs, but I love you”. With her pending nuptials quickly approaching the twist on the classic romantic song.
Ballerini stays true to her self, to her story and true to the career that she has shaped thus far with Unapologetically by releasing a cohesive, well-rounded album. Instead of a few hit singles, the album as a whole is a great listen from the first track to the last. Grab Unapologetically on iTunes here.
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