Drake White: ‘The Optimystic’ – Album Review
Drake White’s new album, The Optimystic is out now, March 11th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the new album below.
Less than three years ago, Drake White didn’t know if he’d ever be able to perform again. After suffering a hemorrhagic stroke on stage in August of 2019, the golden-voiced White went through multiple surgeries and rounds of physical therapy just to relearn to walk. Yet, somehow he always stayed optimistic.
Today, March 11, he’s ready to tell his story through the release of his sophomore album, The Optimystic. Featuring twelve tracks co-written by the Alabama native, each song drips with personality and flair. From the opening chords of “50 Years Too Late” to the swoon-worthy “Power of a Woman” and the final notes of “The Optimystic” that bleeds into a prayerful moment of “Amazing Grace,” it’s clear this album is something special.
“50 Years Too Late” launches the album with fire straight out of the gate, White’s gritty country twang proclaiming that he’s a man who doesn’t quite fit in the modern world. Here, White introduces himself, appreciates the simpler things in life, and admits he should’ve been born way back when things were easier. It truly sets the stage for the rest of the album, which White admits was intentional as the track is a sonic fave of the soulful singer-songwriter.
White is eager to remain optimistic throughout The Optimystic, many songs touching on the idea of overcoming obstacles. “You can’t go through a near-death experience, or a pandemic… without it changing your perspective, or your songwriting,” shared White in a recent press round. “You don’t really know if you’re optimistic until you go through something. You kind of have to battle test it,” He continues of the spirit behind his album. This attitude is reflected in songs including “Rainbow State of Mind,” “Giants,” and “Hurts the Healing.”
“Rainbow” reminds us that it’s sometimes necessary to look on the bright side, and let go and let God (or fate or whatever you believe in) take control. “When you give up control // You’ll find that pot of gold,” He sings. “And you’ll get the rainbow.”
Meanwhile, the deeply personal “Hurts the Healing” is especially meaningful for White. “I think, line for line, it is probably the best song I’ve ever written, as far as writing goes. It is my song, it says exactly what I was feeling…I just think there was some magic.”
Another of the album’s highlights is “Giants,” a triumphant proclamation that it’s possible to overcome whatever it is that holds us back. Over twangy instrumentation, White’s voice booms as he challenges life to “bring on those giants.” With a hand-clapping second half, it’s impossible not to feel jubilant alongside White on this track, as he invites each listener along for the ride. “We all feel like a David facing Goliath sometimes // Well they make us feel so small back against the wall,” He proclaims joyfully. “But they don’t know they’re turning dogs to lions // Bring on those giants.”
White also uses his album to pay tribute to the special people in his life. In “Power of a Woman,” he honors the amazing women in his life, including his mother and his wife, Alex. Meanwhile, “Legends Never Die” tells the story of an older mentor whom he aspires to be like. “When he leaves this world // There won’t be no goodbyes // ‘Cause heroes are remembered // But legends never die,” He sings. “He’s pushin’ eighty and going on twenty-one // Pushin’ daisies will have to wait ’til he gets done.”
“Can’t Have My Dog” may be White’s most country track on the album, a tongue-in-cheek jaunt of love gone wrong. He’s ready to give up everything except his four-legged friend. “You can have my truck // The old house too // The Winnebago, the fast boat, and the pontoon // Take this old guitar // Take my buddy John,” He muses. “You can have it all // You can’t have my dog.”
The album concludes as solidly as it starts with the title track finding White longing for the days “before we knew ’bout this big bad world.” Finally, the haunting notes of “Amazing Grace” close the album, sung by White’s grandfather’s church community. And if that doesn’t sum up Drake White, and this album, we’re not sure what can.
For Drake White, The Optimystic is a true reflection of his character. “It’s been five years since my last album,” He shared in a statement. “I’ve had two record deals, six brain surgeries, a hemorrhagic stroke, and a pandemic that has tried to rip us all apart. Through it all, I’ve always fought to keep my glass half full.”
For listeners, The Optimystic just may be the album we all need. It’s truly impossible not to smile when listening, and in a time that’s been full of uncertainty due to the pandemic, politics, war, and seemingly endless chaos, it’s nice to look at the glass half full. Here, White reminds us that everyone has struggles, and that’s what makes us all human. Yet, with a little faith and hope, we can all overcome… And do so jubilantly.
The Optimystic Tracklist:
- “50 Years Too Late” (Drake White, Leith Loftin)
- “American Thunder” (Drake White, Erik Dylan, Randy Montana)
- “Rainbow State of Mind (Feat. The Woods)” (Drake White, Dan O’Rourke)
- “Pawn Shop Rings and Double Wide Dreams” (Drake White, Allison Veltz Cruz, Jonathan Singleton)
- “Giants” (Drake White, Allison Veltz Cruz, Phil O’Donnell)
- “Hurts the Healing” (Drake White, Aaron Chafin, Allison Veltz Cruz)
- “It Takes Time” (Drake White, Chris DeStefano)
- “Power of a Woman” (Drake White, Lindsey Hinkle, Kelli Johnson)
- “Legends Never Die” (Drake White, Jeremy Bussey, Adam Sanders, Ron Womack)
- “Can’t Have My Dog” (Drake White, Kelli Johnson, Ava Paige)
- “Angel Side of You” (Drake White, Allison Veltz Cruz, Eric Paslay)
- “Free” (Allison Veltz Cruz, Connie Harrington, Zach Kale)
- “The Optimystic” (Drake White, Kelli Johnson, Lauren Weintraub)
- “Amazing Grace”
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The Optimystic 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.