NYCS First Impression: Sam Hunt ‘Southside’
After blasting on to the scene with his Grammy-nominated debut record Montevallo, Sam Hunt quickly became one of country music’s most promising singer-songwriters. After a prolonged hiatus from social media, releasing music, and performing, Hunt readily regained his place in the genre, announcing a headlining tour and a new record. Today, the entertainer finally released his sophomore album entitled Southside.
In Southside, Hunt reminds fans exactly who he is and what style of music he makes. He continues that “write what you know” mentality throughout all twelve of the deeply personal and emotive tracks. Fans may recognize singles “Body Like A Back Road” and “Downtown’s Dead.” Both of which were released years before the final project. The first was an instant hit, a smooth love song where you cannot get enough of your partner, breaking records and spending 25 weeks in a row on the top of the charts. The latter depicts the story of when going out to party loses its luster when you no longer have your person by your side.
Although a new release, “Young Once” has a familiar quality to it. Similar to “Downtown’s Dead,” Hunt sings while a rhythmic hip-hop-infused beat does its part in the background. The song starts off slow, and then picks up momentum, as Hunt reminds us all to live for the moment and soak it all in while it’s happening. Of course, “Kinfolks” channels his signature hip-hop and R&B inspired country as well.
The last track will also be memorable to long-time fans too. Hunt released the somber and simply-produced song, “Drinkin’ Too Much,” back in 2017, during a time where he wanted to be with his, now wife Hannah Lee. The song is a story of repentance, where the singer admits his wrongdoings, apologizes, and by name, reminds his partner that they are meant to be together. Hunt relies on his emotive songwriting and his signature speaking and singing voice to nail the delivery and more importantly, win his lady back.
Listeners will hear Hunt’s talking voice again in the verses of “That Ain’t Beautiful.” In the same vein as “Drinkin’ Too Much,” Hunt tells a story, singing about how a girl can do better and that her actions do not reflect who she really is. Although a case of tough love, you truly feel the story Hunt is telling, and cannot help but to reflect on your own decisions while listening to the retrospective tune.
“Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s” begins with a talking verse as well. Similar to “Break Up In A Small Town,” Hunt sings about how difficult break-ups are in modern-day society. He comes to the conclusion that breaking up was easier in the 90s. The cleverly strung together lyrics, make it hard not to fall in love with this all too relatable song.
“Funny how you haven’t changed a bit / You’re twice as pretty / Glad you finally got to see New York City / I know it’s not a race but looks like you’re getting over me faster than I’m getting over you / But hey / What you gonna do.”
Hunt revisits his past again in one of our favorite songs off the new record called “2016.” The cut transports us back in time, as the singer shines a light on the past, retrospectively reflecting on what he could have done different. He sings “I’d put the whiskey back in the bottle. Put the smoke back in the joint.” He first revealed the new song at Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in February. The song is one of his most vulnerable and passionate to date, and the poetic nature of the song is the perfect backdrop to Hunt’s vocals.
Interestingly enough, similar to how Hunt’s hit single “Make You Miss Me” appeared to be an outlier on the debut record, the singer includes two ballads on Southside, which often feels like a departure from his typical sound. Regardless, both “Nothing Last Forever,” and the previously released single “Sinning With You” are two poignant and necessary tracks off the record.
Hunt pours his heart in the R&B-inspired “Nothing Last Forever,” which is much more than the break-up song it appears to be. On the contrary, “Sinning With You” focuses on the disconnect and connection between religion and being in a serious relationship that Hunt struggled with growing up, proving that he is willing to take risks in both life and music.
Although Hunt didn’t exactly revamp his sound or maybe didn’t surprise fans with a different style, he delivered exactly what we wanted from a Sam Hunt project. Southside has a consistent, yet elevated vibe, and in a time of change and chaos, we appreciate that we can always rely on him to deliver a solid, strong, and heartfelt record.
To keep up with Sam Hunt follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Southside 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.
2. “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s”
3. “That Ain’t Beautiful”
4. “Sinning With You”
Southside Track List:
1. “2016” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Thompson)
2. “Hard To Forget” (Sam Hunt, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Ashley Gorley, Audrey Grisham, Russ Hull, Mary Jean Shurtz)
3. “Kinfolks” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne, Jerry Flowers)
4. “Young Once” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Matt Jenkins, Josh Osborne)
5. “Body Like A Back Road” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally)
6. “This Ain’t Beautiful” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally)
7. “Let It Down” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Chris LaCorte, Josh Osborne, Ernest K Smith)
8. “Downtown’s Dead” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, Charlie Handsome)
9. “Nothing Lasts Forever” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally)
10. “Sinning With You” (Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, Paul DiGiovanni, Emily Weisband)
11. “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Chris LaCorte, Josh Osborne, Ernest K Smith)
12. “Drinkin’ Too Much” (Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally, Stuart Hine)
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