Caitlyn Smith: ‘High & Low’ Album Review
Caitlyn Smith’s new album High & Low is officially out now, April 14th on all streaming platforms. Learn more and listen to the new album below.
In April of 2022, Caitlyn Smith released the critically acclaimed High, a beautiful and poetic eight-track celebration of the great things in life. Today, however, the singer-songwriter is back with High & Low, exploring the full gamut of emotions by adding 6 new songs to complete the full picture.
Much like those on social media who only share a highlight reel of the positive moments in life, Smith realized she was doing the same thing musically. “Nobody can have the highs without the lows,” she revealed. “When I decided to produce this album, I knew it was going to be a challenge – and musically it was a beautifully stretching & exciting experience. But it brought me into this unexpected season of life where I started facing all these roadblocks that were holding me back. Fear. Doubt. Denial. And I was really forced to finally bring these issues into the light. I went from hiding behind my songs to being able to say it out loud in the room – and that’s something I’m really proud of.”
For the Monument recording artist, High & Low feels like a peek into the introspective singer-songwriter’s most personal diary as she details her insecurities, her doubts, her lost love, and much more. Instead of emphasizing just the highs, the album explores all sides of life: the sweet, the bitter, and the bittersweet.
“High” serves as the album’s introduction, and it’s the most perfect way to begin this chapter, cleverly juxtaposing melancholy lyrics over lush instrumentation. Here, she’s both high and low as a relationship has ended, but she doesn’t quite feel that way. Co-written by Smith with Miley Cyrus and Jenn Decilveo, the chanteuse proclaims, “Sometimes I get a little too high // Got my mind going places I don’t wanna go // Sometimes I get a little too low // And I can’t see myself through the fire and smoke…And in my head I did my very best // Saying goodbye, goodbye // And I don’t miss you but I think of you // And don’t know why // I still feel high, I still feel high.”
Love lost permeates the album, Smith’s mournful voice ripe with emotion as she rips your heart out with her lyrical mastery. This is evident on “I Don’t Like the World Without You,” “I Think of You” and the chill-inducing piano ballad, “Lately,” which finds her desperate to occupy herself in light of a relationship ending. Likewise, “Alaska” finds Smith proverbially lost in her relationship, her voice dripping with emotion on the sparse ballad, which begins with the line “I’m terrified we’ll end up like my parents, together but alone.”
Smith finds herself in another state on “Mississippi,” which features stirring male background vocals by non-other than superstar, Garth Brooks. The vocals add an incomparable depth to the song. Here, she’s longing for the state, which seems to act as a metaphor for someone she used to know. “Mississippi, do you ever miss me? // It’s been a while but you’re always on my mind // Sometimes it hits me like a burnin’ whiskey // That I’ll never really ever say goodbye // To you, Mississippi.”
It’s not all doom and gloom on High & Low, with tracks like “Downtown Baby,” “Dreamin’s Free” and “Good As Us” providing much-needed moments of levity. The former has hints of pop, while “Dreamin’s Free” is a lush and ethereal ode to the fact that money can’t buy happiness. Likewise, “Good As Us” has an almost Daisy Jones-like vibe with its airy melodies and smoky vocals, punctuated by a grooving baseline and tambourine shake. In fact, we can almost imagine Daisy and Billy on stage singing along to this track, proclaiming, “Nothing else can make me feel as good as us.”
“Maybe in Another Life” is a clear standout, starting as a subdued ballad before building into a heart-stopping orchestral moment. Here, she longs for a universe in which her love story has less of a tragic end. “And I’ll love you forever with the fire in my soul // Maybe I could be your girl // And we don’t ever say goodbye,” She proclaims. “Maybe in another life.”
Alternatively, “Writing Songs and Raising Babies” has Smith accepting the less-than-glamorous hand she’s been dealt in life, embracing the mundane. On the groovy track which finds her channeling her inner Maren Morris, the singer-songwriter proclaims that there’s “nothing here too glamorous, taking it one day at a time, but damn it’s a beautiful life.”
Finally, the album ends with “The Great Pretender,” an uber-relatable ode to dealing with facades and imposter syndrome. Here, Smith is at her finest, shining through as a folksy songwriter and storyteller in the vein of a mastermind like Brandi Carlile. “Nobody knows I’m crying in a bathroom stall // And I’m living in a house of cards about to fall,” She emotes. “But I make them believe that I’ve never been better // I am the great pretender”
On High & Low, Caitlyn Smith takes listeners on a journey through the highs and lows of life in a way that’s equal parts heartbreaking, beautiful, and heartbreakingly beautiful.
High & Low Track List:
- High – Intro
- Dreamin’s Free
- Good as Us
- Maybe in Another Life
- I Think of You
- Nothing Against You
- Downtown Baby
- Writing Songs and Raising Babies
- I Don’t Like The World Without You
- The Great Pretender
Country Swag Picks:
- “Maybe in Another Life”
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The mega-talented singer will headline her own acoustic tour in support of Independent music venues on The Great Pretender Solo Tour. “I wanted to bring my fans into the room with me to where these songs began. Feelings. Stories. One voice and one instrument. Songs in their purest form,” She shares. “Sharing these wonderfully intimate rooms with people allows me to connect and be more vulnerable than I have been able to be in years. Hopefully, this experience will mean as much to my fans as I know it’s going to mean to me.”
High & Low is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.