Warner Music Nashville LLC
Release Date: August 26th 2022
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Good Person
- Seeing Someone Else
- How Honest Do You Want Me To Be?
- No Choice
- Feel Like This
- Falling For You
- All the Love
- Things That Haven’t Happened Yet
- Wishful Drinking (feat. Sam Hunt)
Country music is as wide as a genre as it is, compared to that of pop music, or even CCM. There’s literally something for everyone, and for me, it’s only been in the last few years when I’ve started to appreciate and enjoy a genre of music that, if I were to be completely honest, didn’t expect to be enjoying or even loving, 10 years ago, 5 years ago…even 2 years ago. But it was honestly my blog series that changed all that, and ever since 2019, I’ve been introduced to a myriad of country artists, from artists like Carrie Underwood, Lindsay Ell, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Hunter Hayes, to Thomas Rhett, The Shires, Shania Twain, Little Big Town, Lady A, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Lauren Alaina, to name a few. Sure, there’s plenty more artists within country music, but that’s beside the point- since 2019, I’ve discovered a genre of music, that I was sadly missing out on, for whatever reason.
I’ve since tried to rectify this fact, and over the past little while, decided to delve deep within the rabbit hole which is country music, and see where I end up. Just this year (2022), I’ve since explored country music artists that have been assumed to be out of my comfort zone, with impressive results. I’ve recently reviewed the new Kiefer Sutherland album Bloor Street and Hailey Whitters’s Raised, both to stellar reviews, while I’ve also reviewed country albums from Tenille Townes, The Shires, Maren Morris, Anne Wilson, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Maddie & Tae and Luke Combs this year too. Enter in another 2022 country-esque (or is it country-adjacent, like Calum Scott’s Bridges– an album that I also reviewed for the site, this year too) album that I’ve since undertaken the task of reviewing, an album that is both familiar-sounding but also out of my comfort zone at the same time. Ingrid Andress’s sophomore album Good Person was unveiled in August 2022, and just like other out-of-the-box albums like the new offerings from Hailey Whitters and Kiefer Sutherland; Ingrid’s new release is just as unique and surprising (in a good way), as this 13-track unveiling has me eager and intrigued to listen to more of Ingrid’s music. We as a site, reviewed Ingrid’s first album, and so it seemed…fitting, for me (or my brother) to review this new album from Ingrid, too? I eventually took the plunge- this album was classified ‘country’, and yet, one listen to the album, showed me that this album wasn’t as country as it was assumed to be, nor was it a pop album, that everyone also assumed it could’ve been classified as, too. This album is indeed somewhere down the middle, and maybe that’s a good thing.
Ingrid’s music has forever been the subject of genre-classification, as fans of hers have argued for her to be firmly situated in pop, or country, or both. As for me, as I’ve listened to this album…well, her music is sure to be a continuing source of discussion and debate in months to come, but what I will say is this- Good Person is indeed a bright spark in a pop industry (and a country one) that seems to be tired and ‘worn-out’. Powerful ballads coupled with songs sung by Ingrid that are indeed vulnerable and heartfelt, this album is not for the ‘faint-hearted’- those expecting a fun and whimsical album to occur after such a deep and emotional first album release, will have to wait a little longer. Her second album is very much about relationships as her first- except that this release has her much more reflective, refined, and mature about her experiences. A must-have if you’ve appreciated her album LadyLike in the past, Ingrid is an artist to explore and check out, especially if you enjoy similar-styled artists like Tenille Arts, Rachel Platten or Carly Rae Jepsen, to name a few.
‘…so, I am a very private person and guarded, and I’m one of those songwriters where I’m like, “Oh, everyone’s writing about love. It’s stupid.” I would like to think that I could write about other things. But fortunately, and unfortunately, I’m an emotional person, and it’s really hard for me to not write about the things that I’m going through, because writing for me is very therapeutic and it helps me process my emotions. So, when I was writing these songs, I had no idea that I would order them in the way that they happened. When I’m writing, I don’t think big picture; I just think, what’s good for this song? But when I was picking the songs for the album, I thought about how I actually wrote these in the timeline in which everything happened. So, I feel like that tells a story in and of itself, ordering them that way. Eventually, I would love to write about something other than relationships. And I think I’m at a point where I will for the next album. But this one was such a huge, like, so much life changed for me in the past two years, which I feel like it happened to a lot of people. I know a lot of people that split up during the pandemic because once you spend countless hours with somebody without any intermission, you really start wondering like, oh, do I actually really love this person?
That kind of set me on my journey of like, well, am I happy? What am I doing with my life? And then I realized that I wasn’t happy and had to process that. Now I’m at a place where I actually am happy — and that’s very new for me; because I feel like most of us assume that life is hard and miserable. Which it is, but there are moments where it’s actually really beautiful, and I feel like we don’t care enough about that…’
Good Person and the songs present on this album tell a story, in order, about a relationship breakdown and then subsequently later (how much later, we don’t know), there’s a promise of a new relationship. I am to presume and assume, that the story that was woven through the songs on Ingrid’s new album, is the story of Ingrid herself, and whether it is or it isn’t doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that these songs are powerful, relatable, heartfelt, and enthusiastic, as I’m reminded of all the reasons (right ones) of why I’ve appreciated, respected, and admired country music for the last little while. Title track ‘Good Person’ rolls in at track #1, and really gets to the heart and soul of what this album really is about. A song that was written as a way of making sense of what people were experiencing because of the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, what was seen around the world as more of a ‘talk against each other’ rather than a ‘talk to each other’. There was more judgement and condemnation in the youtube comments, and Ingrid herself was privy to the fact that COVID-19 itself brought to the fore, questions about what really was a ‘good person’ and how it would even look like, considering that a lot of things on youtube was unfortunately for the converse. As Ingrid herself explains, ‘…we couldn’t see people in person [during the pandemic] and I just saw the intense increase of canceling and yelling in comments sections. It was fascinating — and it made me wonder, like, ‘Am I a good person? And what does that mean?’ And that just sent my brain spiraling, like, ‘I guess people who are religious think they are good people, but they also don’t accept everybody.’ To me, at the end of a four-day, mentally exhausting spiral, I was like, ‘I don’t know what being a good person means — and maybe that’s what the song should be, just asking that question…[The pandemic itself made me] not as caught up in people’s bulls—t, because I think most of us are trying our best and that looks different for everyone. I want everyone to find happiness in their life and that looks different for everyone…’
The fact of the matter is this- there are no good guys here. We all have fallen short of our own expectations of what ‘good’ is, and more importantly, fallen short of God’s expectations. I’m reminded in the bible, of how Jesus spoke to people in the New Testament (Matthew 5, to be precise), and said these impactful and profound things- ‘…you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment…you have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart…’ By these standards, people aren’t as ‘good’ as they think that they are, and people aren’t as ‘good’ as they assume that others are, too. Yes, people’s version of ‘good’ depends on how many ‘bad’ things they have done, but when we’re honest with ourselves and others, we understand, that there’s only one good guy (Jesus) and billion other jacked-up people, just trying to find their way in life, and living the best life that they can. Knowing that we are not ‘good people’ frees us in a way that we don’t have to perform or put on a ‘fake’ smile, pretending that we’re ‘good’ (or at least, carry on the image that we are). ‘Good Person’ is a song where Ingrid is genuinely asking the definition of ‘good’ because it seems such a relative term in a post-modern post-COVID-19 society. Maybe, by hearing this song, we can ponder such a question in our own life, as well?
‘Yearbook’ comes in at track #2 and talks about this taboo topic called…divorce. Yes, Ingrid goes there, and uses this motif and metaphor of a yearbook to showcase the state of the relationship of…her parents? People that she knows? People who other people assumed had the perfect marriage, but then it was realised by many, that they don’t? Whoever the song is talking about, ‘Yearbook’ is nevertheless poignant and heartfelt, as we see through the song, that often a ‘perfect’ depiction and image of marriage (that everyone wants to keep up appearances of) is anything but. As Ingrid herself explains, ‘…I feel like this song is an interesting perspective that hasn’t been written about before. As far as marriage goes, there’s such a taboo around getting divorced. I wrote it after observing my parents’ relationship, other people’s parents relationships, too…you understand that, “Oh, these people met in high school and have been together for a really long time, but they’re miserable together.”…’ More often than not these days, people become married for all the wrong reasons- to satisfy an itch, because of ‘compatibility’, because of a ‘spark’, because it is expected of them to…the list goes on. And then in the end, everyone is miserable, and people just stay together because of the wrong reasons too. Maybe it’s better to stay single until you know for sure that marriage is right for you? ‘Seeing Someone Else’ carries with it a sense of ‘personal’ for Ingrid. In it, she expresses to her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, that she thinks he’s seeing someone else…but it’s not because she thinks that he’s cheating or seeing someone else entirely on the side. But rather, she thinks he’s viewing someone else, when he’s still looking at her. People change throughout life, and rarely, people stay stagnant, in terms of viewpoints, ethos, ethics, beliefs…you get the picture. The fact that someone views someone else like how they want them to be (because of a certain picture they have painted in their heads about who this person was in the past, versus who they are currently, right now), places a lot of pressure on this person- pressure to go back to who they once were before (even if they don’t feel as though they are that person, now), and pressure to keep playing a role for the other person, even if you know yourself that that isn’t a role that’s healthy to be played. ‘Seeing Someone Else’ speaks about unrealistic expectations (and maybe even unsaid) placed upon people, and how relationships break down because of this. Hopefully, ‘Seeing Someone Else’ allows us to look at our own relationships and friendships- seeing what expectations we’re placing upon the people we are in relationship with each day, and whether these are actually and truly warranted or not.
‘Talk’ stands at track #4 and highlights this issue (or is it a non-issue) of talking about things…and then that’s it. It seems that culture, society and relationships are built all around ‘talking’ about issues and circumstances, but then in the end, no action is actually taken. People say they need to change, and people say there are things that they know they want to implement in order to bring about change in _____, but Ingrid highlights the fact that reality couldn’t be farther from what is assumed people do. As she sings poignantly in the chorus, in how ‘…all we do is talk about it, never do a thing about it, do you even care about us? ‘Cause I really care about us…’, we understand, maybe even the hard way ourselves, that talk is cheap, and you only know how someone is worth, if the talk is actually backed up with actions or not. ‘How Honest Do You Want Me To Be’ is by far one of the most personal songs Ingrid has written for this album, and really speaks to the fact, that in relationships, people only want a certain, curated version of honesty (when it comes to relationship breakdown and people ask the other person ‘be honest with me’, what they are really asking is ‘tell me a certain version of honesty that I know I can handle’). Yet this song champions honesty more than anything else, and as Ingrid has pointed out herself, we see that the process behind this song speaks a lot to the culture of honesty in this day and age of 2022- ‘…that one was definitely after I was having a conversation with somebody. And they were like, “Just be honest with me.” When people say that, I very rarely think they actually want to know your honest thoughts. They just want like a varied version of it that will make them feel good. In my head that title popped up when they’re like, “Be honest.” And in my head I was like, “How honest do you want me to be though? I can’t actually be straight up with you.” I went into the studio to mess around with how this title goes. I was feeling playful and sarcastic, which is really me. The Lone River Ranch Water event really brought out that side of me. “When you water down whiskey, it gets easier to drink. And a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine sweeter. You say you want the truth, but the truth might sting. So how honest do you want me to be?”…’ Do we really want the truth? Honestly? Because the truth can often hurt, and it can most certainly sting in the short term. Maybe a song like this is very much needed for us to reconsider our own connections and relationships that we have personally, and to ask ourselves- how honest are we in these relationships? And how honest should we be?
‘No Choice’ chronologically shows us the stages in Ingrid’s own relationship breakdown; and showcases the vulnerability in her singing- at various points and times in the song, the emotion comes through, even culminating to a point in the song when you know that she’s crying when she’s singing it. Though a lot of songs are redone generally, to hide the fact that songs like this are so emotional, this song by Ingrid was only captured and recorded once- crying and all. We are often taught that crying and being emotional is a sign of weakness, and yet a song like ‘No Choice’ is by far one of the most heartfelt, emotive and vulnerable of them all…and that is a very good thing. I can only think of another track (Sugarland’s ‘Stay’) where I can hear outright, the emotion coming through the track- in that song, it’s from the POV of the other woman, singing to the man that they love (but know they cannot have), but in Ingrid’s case, ‘No Choice’ shows us that the persona (Ingrid herself?) has no choice but to let go of a relationship, because the other person broke it off first. It’s a song about finally letting go of something that you so badly want to hold onto, because you’re hoping against hope that it’s salvageable. ‘No Choice’, as emotional as it is, is a song that is needed and is necessary, for Ingrid’s own sake, to bring healing to herself during such a time where it seemed as though her personal life was in shambles- and there seemed to be no coming out of it, either. As Ingrid herself explains, ‘…that day was just really difficult. Writing is my therapy, so I just let it all out. I’m so authentic when I sing, so most of that vocal for that song was taken from the day I wrote it. Normally, you go back and rerecord the song, but I didn’t. Honestly, I wanted to take out the crying part because I don’t like crying in front of people. But I was like, ‘You know what? This album is all about being vulnerable so let’s just go there.’ It’s terrifying to do that because you’re opening up a very, very hidden part of you to the entire world. There would be no other way for me to really get across how painful that moment was without being true to that moment. It’s really scary, but at the same time, it’s more about the art to me. I’m just a vessel. What I am singing about and crying about has happened to so many other people and the goal is to make them feel less alone and more understood…’ ‘Pain’ concludes the ‘sad’ part of Good Person, in a way where the song explains that the pain that people experience is used in the future- through perspective and lessons learnt, we see that the pain that we feel in a certain moment isn’t for nought. Ingrid sings from the perspective of someone who has been through pain, singing to someone who may be suffering at this moment in time- in the song, she gives an ‘older-sister’ advice, reminding the person who’s ‘going through it’, that ‘…girl, I’ve been there, yeah, life, it ain’t fair, it’s okay to not be all right, just go ‘head and cry, it might sound insane but I promise one day, you’re gon’ be thankin’ your lucky stars for all this pain…’ We may not know how our pain is going to be woven into something bigger, better, and much more healing in the future, but what we do know is this- that God uses all things for our good and His glory, and that 20/20 hindsight is the best teacher one can have. Maybe what we experience is so that we can relate to others who may be going through those exact things, too?
Throughout the rest of the album, we see Ingrid portray a more ‘lighter’ atmosphere and perspective, as we see these songs take up an overarching theme of starting something new, surrendering to a new relationship, and seeing the end of something as an opportunity to begin something different and new. ‘Feels Like This’ was written in real time where we see Ingrid fall in love with someone new, as the song tries to make sense of the real and in-time feelings that Ingrid herself was reconciling; while ‘Blue’ is a jazz-like piano-driven slow feeling of being in love for the first time; and relating that to what people feel like when they see a certain colour for the first time. As Ingrid herself explains, ‘…the song was inspired by watching videos of people who are colorblind seeing color for the first time. We turned that idea into a love song…’ ‘Falling For You’ shows Ingrid still in the hopeful stage of her relationship, as we see her deliver the hopeful (and maybe even false hope?) words of how ‘…I hope I never stop falling for you…’, that even when beauty fades and the ‘petals fall off the roses’, that she and her lover can still feel as they felt at the beginning. It’s a hopeful song, and one that maybe idolises an idealised version of a relationship, rather than the real thing. But it’s ok to hope for things to turn out for the best, right?
‘All The Love’ clocks in at track #11, and is an honest look into Ingrid’s own relationship (is it her current one?), as she says that even though she cannot give her lover, a heart that is not broken, nor a heart that has never been stolen, what she can give her lover, is all the love that her heart has…and maybe that ought to be enough for the relationship, period? ‘All the Love’ is a reminder that people are broken individuals, and to expect a relationship to come without any baggage is ultimately futile. But to love wholeheartedly, with all the flaws that come with it, ought to be enough for two individuals to stick it out, work things out, and for love to conquer all obstacles as the years go by…right? ‘All The Love’ is hopeful, and maybe, just maybe, as we listen to the track, we are hopeful too. The album is then rounded out with ‘Things that Haven’t Happened Yet’, an open-ended look into the future (of Ingrid, but maybe into our own futures as well), and acknowledging that more often than not, the future is unknowable. You may want certain things to occur in the future, or you may be hopeful for things, and not want other things. But at the end of the day, this song allows people to hold less tightly the things and wishes of tomorrow, because today is really the only guaranteed thing that we have. The album then also has the bonus track of ‘Wishful Drinking’ as track #13, a duet with Sam Hunt that was recorded back in 2021. When that song was unveiled, it was adamantly said that ‘Wishful Drinking’ wasn’t indicative of how album #2 was going to be…and Ingrid was right. ‘Wishful Drinking’ is lively and upbeat. Good Person the album is reflective. Nevertheless, it’s good to hear the 2021 hit on this album, and a reminder that just as much as we need songs that are reflective and heartfelt, we need songs that are happy, joyous, and playful as well.
There you have it. Good Person the album. Such an album that is personal and heartfelt, poignant, and emotive. Reflective and slow, but that isn’t a bad thing. Ingrid’s songs have always come from a personal place, and the songs unveiled on Good Person is no exception. Just don’t expect this album to be presented with all sunshine and rainbows, because life isn’t like that. Life is messy and unpredictable, life isn’t fair, and sometimes, you may even question life, full stop. But Good Person, for all its worth, allows us to take stock of our own lives, which is what people have done because of COVID-19, but I feel as though as quick as people reflected because of the virus, people seemed to go back to their ‘usual routine’ once the pandemic seemed to…become a part of everyday life? Good Person is a reminder, for me at least, to keep thinking and pondering about the big questions, even now, even though it’s not ‘cool’, ‘hip’ or popular to keep doing so. Ingrid’s songs remind us to keep pressing on, through the hard stuff, because on the other side of hurt and pain, can lie things for us that are better than we can ever hope for or even imagine. Well done Ingrid for these pearls of wisdom (in the form of 13 tracks). Looking forward to how these songs can help, challenge, confront or even heal people, in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
‘…the genre thing has been brought up a lot to me, because people hear this record and they’re like: What is this? And that is honestly — no pun intended — like music to my ears. Because I think what I love so much about country is the storytelling, but what I hate about it is how limiting it is for everyone. And I think a lot more people would love country if we talked about things that were happening in the country that also were relatable to everyone, everywhere. So to me, it was a big deal for me to kind of put the genre hat down where it’s just like: What’s good for these songs?
And that’s a really scary thing to do. But at the end of the day, the tighter you hang on to a genre, the quicker it’s gonna die. Just like with jazz, the tighter you keep the circle, the less and less people are gonna want to know about it. Sometimes I feel like country music is still doing its same parade and same rodeo of “this is who we are.” And I’ve met a lot of these fans and people, and it is so real — there is still a culture there. But everything evolves, whether people want it to or not, you know? We used to not have cell phones, and now we all have cell phones and everyone was against them at the beginning and now we all have them. So you have to let things evolve. And I know it’s scary and I know unfamiliar things are terrifying. But that’s part of being alive. You should never feel like you’re just resting in one place.
I know that country music prides themselves in just being the same thing, but there’s a way to do it to where you can still honor the tradition of it while still making it relevant. Otherwise you’re gonna just kill your own genre. And I hate putting it that way. But I hate hearing people say that they hate country music, and I’m like, why? “Well, it’s all beers and trucks.” And I’m like, “Yeah, it used to be so much more than that. I promise. It isn’t just all that.” And it’s the same with any genre to where, when you oversaturate people with the same sound over and over again, people are gonna start to make assumptions. That’s just what we do as humans. But country, when done well, is actually really smart. It is really good. And it tells the story in a way that makes people feel like they’re going through it, even though they’ve never been through it before. And that is what I’m trying to keep alive.
I’m totally OK with people coming at me being like “This isn’t country,” because I’m sure, based on their references, they are correct. But I am not chaining myself to anything. I am just doing what I do. I’m not trying to change a genre. I don’t think everyone should sound like me. I’m just doing my thing. And the sooner people realize that I’m not here to s*** on country, the better, because I actually really love it. I love the good parts about it. Art reflects life, and I think everyone’s a little lost right now, and everyone’s scared of change, which we should be, because we’re humans. But picture me as a painter. I am painting what has inspired me from the genre. And if you don’t want to hang it in your living room, that’s OKt. You don’t have to hate it. You don’t have to do anything. You can just not hang it in your living room, and that’s all there is…’
3 songs to listen to: How Honest Do You Want Me To Be?, Falling For You, Seeing Someone Else
RIYL: Tenille Arts, Maren Morris, Rachel Platten, Ellie Goulding, Carly Rae Jepsen