Kelsea Ballerini submerged into the femme fatale underbelly of Nashville after the 2015 release of her heavily Taylor-Swift-exhilarated-pop-country debut album, The First Time, and her 2017 nostalgia-besmirched, twangy guitar-stained sophomore album, Unapologetically. Her third self-titled album, Kelsea, amalgamates the two releases, fixating on more pop collections (perhaps after her collaborations with The Chainsmokers on “This Feeling” and John K on “If We Never Met“). Kelsea takes a contemplative glimpse at her roots and embellishes Kelsea’s flaws.
Her lead single “homecoming queen?” advocates for the youth to dismiss the masks that hide their insecurities while nourishing their inner beauty, while “club” puts aside the negative perception surrounding nightlife culture. In the latter, she sings, “I don’t wanna go to the club // I don’t wanna watch everybody around me try to hook up // And say stuff they don’t mean // And get drunk and get cheap // So what’s wrong with me // ‘Cause I don’t wanna go to the club.”
“Love me like a girl” embroiders the support that female friends deliver over a significant other and “overshare” has the singer-songwriter confessing that sometimes she’s anxiety-ridden during the heat of conversations, and terrified by silence. This message is coupled with a poppy, bright instrumentation. “Hole in the bottle” warns the dangers of drinking too much, but proceeds to experiment with her new beach-y sound. Lyrically prodigious from start to finish, the singer-songwriter’s infatuation for wine is depicted playfully, as she sings, “There’s a hole in this bottle // Leakin’ all of this wine // It’s already empty and it ain’t even suppertime // Honey, no, I don’t miss him // In fact, it slipped my mind // There’s a hole in the bottle of wine.”
“Half of my hometown” recruits the help of Kenny Chesney and reminisces on both sides of her hometown (Knoxville, Tennessee), where one has moved on and the other is still reflecting on childhood days. Ballerini enlisted the help of another A-list friend, Halsey, on “the other girl,” a song about a relationship with a man who’s seeing both of them at the same time. Ballerini’s light tones complement Halsey’s raspy, gritty voice. Both personalities penetrate through each ounce of this lyrical masterpiece.
“A country song,” the second to last song on the singer’s harmonious album, pays homage to the comfort that country music conveys and adds to a collection of songs, such as Maren Morris‘ “My Church.” The last song on the album, “la,” welcomes the listener inside Ballerini’s brain during her most innermost, apprehensive thoughts. Documented on Spotify, the “Love Me Like You Mean It” songwriter wrote this song alone in a hotel room in west Hollywood.
Kelsea Ballerini’s album release for kelsea looked a lot different than what she had originally planned, due to the pandemic that currently has the world on a mandated lockdown. Originally, she was supposed to be travelling 21 days straight, to promote her new album. Instead, she made the release week her own. Earlier this year, she released sweatpants imprinted with lyrics from “club.” This week, the singer used the help of drones to deliver pizza and her new album to fans. Watch the video here.
Listen to Kelsea here.
Featured Image: Black River Entertainment