Big Machine Label Group
Release Date: August 4th 2023
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Dance With You
- Let Go Too Soon
- Back To Jesus
- Love Goes On
- I Did This To Me
- You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me
- Don’t Take The Girl
I’ve often wondered over the past little while- what does the kingdom of God look like in the marketplace. Is it massive revival like the Toronto blessing, and tons and tons of people coming to know Christ, or is it the news of well-known celebrities (like Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper and Kanye “Ye” West) seemingly coming to Christ and dedicating a life of service to God, or is it Christian music artists collaborating with artists from the mainstream (like Chris Tomlin with his album Chris Tomlin & Friends)? Or high profile people like Denzel Washington preaching the gospel (as evidenced here and here)? Well… in my opinion, I firmly believe that the kingdom of God on this earth, looks like all of these strange, weird, and wonderful things. Jesus is working in the world, and the divide between Christian and secular (music in particular!) is becoming blurrier and blurrier. While some believers may dislike the fact that Christians are hanging out with and collaborating with people who do not agree with them, I for one am thrilled that the gospel is being preached no matter who it is by- yes, even when the gospel is being preached by non-believers. In my own opinion, I say the more the line blurs and the more the gospel is preached outside of the confines of the church… the better.
Which brings me to this EP Across The Sheets by country singer Brett Young. No, this release is not a ‘Christian’ album. it’s a country release through and through. But I did hear about Brett through Chris’s country album (Brett sang “Be The Moon”!)… and with me reviewing Brett’s Christmas album and enjoying it, and with me branching out and listening to different music than I would usually, and being inspired and blessed by it; can I say that I have Chris Tomlin to thank for me enjoying Brett’s music? Is this statement controversial or blasphemous? You be the judge, but one thing is for certain. On this 8 song EP, Brett inspires us as he delves into some pretty wide-reaching and relevant topics, as we all move through the ups and downs of life. While I myself hadn’t heard any song from the discography of country artist Brett Young, I stepped out in faith because I liked what I heard from the Christmas EP, and the results here is one of the strongest EP’s of the year thus far.
The acoustic guitar led ballad “Dance With You” is the EP opener and the lead single. As Brett eloquently and emotionally sings out to his wife Taylor Mills, and reiterates that he is wholeheartedly and unequivocally in love with her; he highlights that he only wants to dance with her and only wants to do life with her. It’s a sweet song that is relatable to couples and people who are married, while us single people can strive to find a person and a rock steady relationship similar to the one Brett is describing. “Let Go Too Soon”, thematically and lyrically the polar opposite to “Dance With You”, speaks about the inverse, about a couple already broken up, and one person lamenting over the relationship and wondering if they broke up too soon. And with Brett reminding us that sometimes relationships fail and don’t work and that’s part of life, we are also inspired to try to stick it out with someone and work through issues when we fight, because enduring a relationship through the hard times might be the greatest and most satisfying of all achievements.
The rest of the EP inspires us to live life to the fullest as Brett passionately sings out about the best parts of life and also about the challenging parts. “Back to Jesus” is where Brett acknowledges his wife’s major role in strengthening his faith in Jesus Christ, while “Uncomfortable” speaks about Brett’s relationship with his wife and about how ‘…you still make me stop, you still make me stare, you still bring me coffee in your underwear, you know it makes me crazy, you know that I don’t care, somehow the way you love me still shakes me and makes me uncomfortable…’. “Love Goes On”, a powerful piano led ballad, delves deep into Brett’s 15 year history with his wife and the fact that they broke up many times throughout the years, but always found their way back to each other; while “I Did This To Me” is a reflective and contemplative track where the persona speaks about a failed relationship and that he was in the wrong and that it’s his fault, for the many reasons listed in the song. It’s a song that isn’t reflective of Brett’s life at the moment, but perhaps was indicative of the many times him and his wife were broken up. “You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me”, a personal and honest ballad, is a re-recording of a melody from 2017, and is another heartbreak song inspired by one of Brett and Taylor’s break-ups; while Across the Sheets ends with the Tim McGraw cover of “Don’t Take The Girl”, where Brett sings about the stages of a relationship between a boy and a girl- from being young to being teenagers to being adults, and the many feelings the boy has about the girl.
I previously said that ‘…Brett Young & Friends Sing the Christmas Classics does not sway me to check out Brett Young’s solo music prior to this album. There’s no original Christmas melody present here, yet it’s a strong and durable album that will no doubt bring a smile to my face every time I listen, and will help dispel the haters, by proving that God can be praised by anyone and in any circumstance. However, this Christmas project doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and had the guest vocalists not been part of this release, I wouldn’t have thought twice to avoid it. Brett as a vocalist is quite bland, and if this album (or EP!) isn’t your thing, then that’s fine by me. But check it out nonetheless…’. Can I eat my words now? Sure, Brett Young’s voice is still bland. That won’t ever change because that’s his voice. But rather, I’ve grown appreciative of Brett’s song-writing and his lyrics, and Across The Sheets is proof of the story-telling from Brett that I actually like in country music. this project isn’t perfect, not by any means. It’s also way too short in duration and track number. But Brett inspires us all to look deeper and to be more intentional in life- and isn’t that what matters most in life? Well done Brett, in this case, I love to be proven wrong about you, and I can’t wait to hear more from you in the future. Can CCM introduce me to country music and vice versa? Isn’t that a good thing, don’t you reckon?
The Cliff Notes [version] is we’re coming up on 15 years since we met. And so we’ve been married for four, but our story’s very long, and she’s been my best friend for a really long time. The crazy thing is, we broke up three times in 15 years. So a lot of the new sad songs are also driven from memories about our breakups, and the happy songs are about us finally figuring it out and being where we are now. So, to call her my muse I think would be exactly right.
3 songs to listen to: Dance With You, Back To Jesus, Don’t Take The Girl
RIYL: Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Carly Pearce, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton