Kelsea Ballerini teams with Ed Sheeran on eclectic new album which stays true to the singer's country roots

Meandering through a variety of genres including pop, reggae, and indie-folk, the singer demonstrates her ability to tackle a variety of styles


                            Kelsea Ballerini teams with Ed Sheeran on eclectic new album which stays true to the singer's country roots
Kelsea Ballerini (Black River Records)
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Two-time Grammy-nominated singer Kelsea Ballerini is returning with her latest album 'Kelsea'.

The singer dropped a new song titled 'Homecoming Queen' last year and recently debuted the track 'LA' with an accompanying music video in January, followed by 'Hole in the Bottle' in February. She has already had an eventful year with a nomination at the Academy of Country Music Awards and a performance at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' in January. And now she is finally set to drop her third studio album titled on March 20.

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'Kelsea' is a country-pop album all the way, but the opening track 'Overshare' is a bit of an odd one out. This track infuses some summery reggae into the mix that changes things up and breaks the general tradition of having an opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Starting with 'Club', however, this album becomes as classic as a country-pop album can get. It's even a tad reminiscent of some Miley Cyrus songs from the mid to late 2000s era. This vibe continues with 'Homecoming Queen', and with each song, Ballerini manages to build up a sense of nostalgia for her listeners. While that feeling is something country songs tend to hand out in spades, this one hits a little different. Even lyrically, it makes you flashback to those simpler days, remembering what it felt like to deal with those world-shattering problems that plagued our young souls, especially the feelings of insecurity and the attempt of finding hope amid the rigors of daily life.  So many of us wish we could go back and tell our younger selves that things do get better, and this song feels like that cathartic letter we never got to mail out.

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'The Other Girl' features pop diva Halsey and gives the album its darker edge. 'Love and Hate', a track co-written with Ed Sheeran is more folksy, while 'Bragger' throws up some Meghan Trainor-esque peppy pop vibes. And 'Hole in the Bottle' is a classic country-pop track featuring acoustic guitars and lyrics that speak about moving on from "love gone wrong" while downing bottles of wine. This entire mid-section of the album is a real testament to Ballerini's ability to switch between genres effortlessly while still maintaining her country sound throughout.

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Speaking about the album Ballerini was quoted as saying in an official press release, "As I grow up, as a woman and an artist, I’ve felt myself changing my perspective, from my view on love and life, to how love and life make me feel. Naturally, that turns more personal, more therapeutic, and more rewarding. This album is honest, it’s country, it’s experimental, it’s fun, it’s introspective, and it’s 100% me. It’s the album that puts us on a first-name basis."

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'Half of my Hometown' features the legendary Kenny Chesney. It brings back the nostalgia from the start of the album and makes you long to go back to where you came from, even if only for a moment, just to experience what your memories so dearly cling on to just one more time. And right after, we get another darker track in 'The Way I Used To'. These songs tend to be the ones one in which Ballerini's vocals shine the most both because of the emotionally-charged lyrics that are carried by her stunning and powerful vocals, and the equally emotional music that provides the perfect backdrop for her beltier notes. The album continues to wind things down with the aptly titled 'A Country Song'. This track has a beautifully relaxing sound that is going to have you wanting to kick back and relax as you mull over your day.

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Closing track 'LA' is an ode to a city that most people love to hate and hate to love. It sits as the perfect companion track to 'Half of my Hometown' — one part of you misses the town you left behind when you moved to the big city to try and make a name for yourself, and the other part is the new kid in a city that is different and magical and painfully jarring all at once. The music video for 'LA' shows the entertainment capital of the West Coast as the traveler's dream, following Ballerini around as she takes us to her favorite spots. The song also gives us glimpses into the singer's relationship with fame as she sings "I'm on my third glass a wine trying to find a conversation in a room with bigger names."

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When Ballerini first took the world by storm in 2015 with her debut album 'The First Time', she demonstrated that she was an artist to watch out for. Her lyrics and vocals were impressive, to say the least. But with 'Kelsea', the singer has come into her own musically, and what we get is a much more mature sound from an artist that is finding more of her voice with each new release.

To pre-order the album, visit KelseaBallerini.com and follow Kelsea Ballerini on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

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