The Texas band’s first album since 2016, Randy Rogers Band came straight for relatability with their fans through Hellbent. Together for over 17 years, their eighth album tells the stories of the trials and tribulations everyone goes through when life tries to knock us down, but we come back fighting every time. Some of the tracks describe that low place when you’re all out of ideas and almost ready to give up hope, while others portray the carefree ‘let fate decide’ attitude. The title Hellbent derives from the feeling that the band isn’t giving up and is hell bent on creating music, staying loyal to their fans, and riding the waves of the music industry. Produced with Dave Cobb and recorded in the legendary RCA Studio A, the album resonates with influence from all the ones who have recorded in that studio before.
The first song on the album, “Drinking Money” starts with a solitary, disconsolate emotion. When you’ve got too much on your mind, this song expresses the mood of putting on your “poker face” to cover up the hurt, and go to a bar and spend all of your drinking money in one place.
“I’ll Never Get Over You” comes running out of the gates right at the start, with a strong beat and catchy lyrics. It tells the story of someone reflecting on a relationship that is still fresh, and even though time is moving on, closure hasn’t and probably won’t come. It’s almost a ‘throw your hands up when you don’t know what went wrong’ kind of song. You’re still thinking about someone when they’ve already moved on, so you continue to sit on your porch and drink a beer.
The third song of the album slows down to a ballad and cuts right to the heart. “Anchors Away” describes the habit of a man leaving at the first sign of vulnerability, yet unable to change this defense mechanism and open up when he finally found someone worth changing for. “Anchors away works like a charm / First sign of danger, I pull the alarm, Something’s broken in me / I don’t wanna leave, I don’t know how to stay.”
The following track, “Comal County Line”, premiered before the album release and brings the band back to their home state of Texas. Playing on the road, the group often craved coming home to their old stomping grounds. Written with fellow songwriter Sean McConnell, this song is an upbeat expression of the band on their way back home, “Just a few more miles to the Comal County Line.” This is sure to be a huge hit on the band’s tour as they make their way through several cities in Texas.
“We Never Made it to Mexico” laments missing a girl who was supposed to join him on a trip to Mexico, but now is clearly with someone else. With a few Spanish phrases thrown in a country accent, it’s a comical but sad story that brings forth images of waiting at the airport without his cohort. With a little bit of a Jimmy Buffett flair, this song is definitely perfect for the beach this summer.
“Crazy People” is the early release single that is the eighth track on this album. This song is ‘drive down old country backroads’ music. It brings up the idea that even though our parents raised us strictly, they also might have just been the crazy people everyone talks about.
The gritty vocals on the verse of “Fire in the Hole” parallel the struggle of the relationship this song describes. It’s present with so much tension and insinuates that at any moment it could explode.
What seems to be a title leading to a funny tale of stress leading to the necessity of wine and some well-picked meme, “Wine in a Coffee Cup” doesn’t stop with a surface interpretation. Instead, it narrates the morning routine of a CEO woman who’s hurting like everyone else but hiding it from the world. This song describes drowning the sorrows of her life and escaping reality but maintaining the picture perfect image to the rest of the world.
The final song on the album, “Good One Coming On” brings back the hope of the future and expectations of good things coming our way. No matter what happens, it’ll all be okay. This album really takes you on a journey through the rough realities of life, but ends with an expression that life is wonderful and we might as well make what we can of it.
Hellbent 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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