Kelsea Ballerini – ballerini

Black River Entertainment

Release Date: September 11th 2020

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Kelsea Ballerini– ballerini (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. overshare (ballerini album version)
  2. Club (ballerini album version)
  3. homecoming queen? (ballerini album version)
  4. the other girl (ballerini album version)
  5. love me like a girl (ballerini album version)
  6. love and hate (ballerini album version)
  7. bragger (ballerini album version)
  8. hole in the bottle (ballerini album version)
  9. half of my hometown (ballerini album version)
  10. the way i used to (ballerini album version)
  11. needy (ballerini album version)
  12. a country song (ballerini album version)
  13. la (ballerini album version)

So it’s September. 6 months since the start of COVID-19. We’re all still in lockdown, we’re all still restless in our homes… and we’re all wondering when everything will ‘end’ and ‘get back to normal’. Well the news flash is that everything may not get back to normal- so as we adjust to this new normal, and wait for restrictions to be relaxed so that we can get back to some version and semblance of normal… what do we do now? Well let me tell you that it has been music that has kept me sane, that it has been music that has greatly encouraged and inspired, and it has been music that has made me ask the deep questions of life that I otherwise may not have asked in such depth. In fact I’d say it has been God speaking through music- through Christian and mainstream music alike. And one such album that I have found to be ministering to my soul throughout this time, has just been released last week. Within the past 7 days, I’ve spun this album a number of times- and I can safely say that Kelsea Ballerini’s ballerini is near-flawless, brilliant, exemplary, and a superb companion to kelsea which released in March this year.

It was the week the world shut down. I was really careful about not taking up any space talking about it because there were bigger things to talk about in the world, especially at that time. And the truth is, I kinda detached myself from the project. I got bummed out because I loved the album that we made. … Everything we planned for it went away.

Someone was like, ‘Hey, you just put out this album that you’re in love with. What happened? Please go back to it and find a way to fall back in love with it,’. The circumstances are the circumstances, but that doesn’t change the art you made. ‘Ballerini’ is really what it would’ve sounded like, not touring it. What the songs sound like now, sitting in your living room with very few people and having a glass of wine. And really having the time to listen to things differently. That’s what this album is.

I was down the road on the album that we made and thinking it was the only way that I could ever make it and thinking that it could only be played in the tour that we had planned and only be talked about the way I had planned to talk about it. I had to clean the slate and start over. But not start all the way over because I love what I wrote.

I love production, I love being commercial. I always wanna be on the radio, I always wanna do all that. But I’m a songwriter. I give a s**t about that. The album … the purpose of it for me is to showcase the songs and show them two ways.

The reason we’re putting it out on the 11th is because it’s the last day of me being 26.  A lot of this album, it’s about self-discovery and the growth I’ve found (in) this year of my life. I turn 27 the next day, and I feel like it’s going to be a whole new ballgame of new music and I’m going to shift my focus into new stuff. This is the perfect celebration of what this year was for me.

I feel as if Kelsea Ballerini has said everything there needs to say about ballerini, the 13 track album with exactly the same songs as kelsea, but redone in a way that doesn’t feel tacky or cheap or even lessen the quality of the original tracks. kelsea is a fun album to listen to- just read my blog about her, as well as my review and you can see how much I resonated with it – yet ballerini is an equally impressive and equally brilliant project. These songs stand tall in their own right, they mean something entirely different, and they’re not just copycats of the oiriginals. The ballerini album tells a completely different story- one that is more transparent and vulnerable and honest. That’s not to say that kelsea is bad- it’s just that ballerini is better. And Kelsea has outdone herself on this project and has set the bar even higher. For me to rehash all of the songs would be redundant. I’ve already spoken about these tracks here. So for now I’ll leave you to listen to the album, and you can let me know what you think. I’ll also quote Apple Music- so that you can know what they think the album is like. So… what do you think of the project? Does it resonate with you like it does for me? Well done Kelsea, I can’t wait to hear what you have in store next!

A common way to maximize the reach of a pop song, including one of a country-pop variety, is to release a big remix on the heels of the original. Half a dozen years into her Nashville hitmaking career, Kelsea Ballerini is no doubt familiar with this practice, but she chose an entirely different approach. On her March 2020 album, simply titled kelsea, she applied sheer, sprightly rhythmic production to acutely confessional material, but this companion piece, dubbed ballerini and recorded during quarantine, presents those same tunes with subdued, largely acoustic arrangements. In the new version of “overshare,” the singer-songwriter dials back her wryness to bring insecurity into focus. With its beat-driven energy stripped away, “needy” no longer sounds blissful, but a little uneasy at being in the grip of such emotion. Backed by string band accompaniment, Ballerini’s disgust for an untrue lover takes on a more plaintive quality in “love and hate.” Together, the two sets, both of which she co-produced, are her artful way of laying her effervescent persona and embrace of vulnerability side by side

3 songs to listen to: the other girl, half of my hometown, la

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Lady Antebellum, Dixie Chicks, Maren Morris, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert

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