Release Date: September 30th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Mean To Me
- I’m Sorry
- Call Your Sister
- Not Supposed To Know Each Other
- Catch Myself
- At 4:15am in Sacramento, CA
- Girl Wonder
- 8 Months
- First Time I Was Drunk
- I’m Sorry (2.0 Version) (feat. Josh Kerr)
- Not Supposed To Know Each Other (Sad Version)
- Call Your Sister (Sister Version)
Ever since 2019 and our ever-on-going blog series (which we’re still in the middle of!), I’ve been branching out and listening to music that I wouldn’t normally in the past. And I’ve found that ‘mainstream’ music, which was marketed to me as ‘bad’ and ‘evil’, actually isn’t. These people who are singing songs for the mainstream media, are just people, and ordinary people like you and me. Country music is the genre (apart from CCM), which I have been most hard-hit by in a good away, and I’ve found that I’ve resonated greatly with artists like Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett, Shania Twain, Lindsay Ell, Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Runaway June, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Lady A, Tenille Townes, Tenille Arts, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Walker Hayes, Carly Pearce, Lauren Alaina, Alana Springsteen, Gabby Barrett and even Taylor Swift. Even though I’m not American, it is these artists above who have helped place this genre in a special place in my heart. And as we’ve reviewed country albums over the years and seem God move in ways beyond imagination and comprehension with these artists, and as we’ve seen God be praised and given the glory in the marketplace; here we are in 2023 with another ‘new-ish’ artist and her heartfelt, honest, inspiring, vulnerable, and poignant music.
Taylor Edwards is an artist I know next to nothing about. I’ve seen her pop up in many of the curated Spotify playlists on many Fridays (which is where I search these days to find new and up-and-coming artists; and so one day I took the plunge and started listening to her music. While she may not be the most original artist (Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce, and Lainey Wilson are pretty original and lead the pack as far as female country artists go in my honest opinion!), Taylor’s music is still powerful honest, vulnerable, resonating, hard-hitting and compelling. Taylor released her debut full length album Born In July (The Album) in September last year. And though I’m not really the target audience here (as I’m a single white male living in Australia!); Taylor’s release in super deep and meaningful, and inspiring to the max as well.
One listen to Born In July (The Album), and you will find that it is incredibly thought-provoking, as Taylor dives deep into a myriad of issues that you probably won’t expect from a debut album. Opening track “Mean To Me” delves deep into the heart of mental health and anxiety, with Taylor crying out that she berates herself and puts down herself for no apparent reason at all while others around her praise her ad build her up. It’s a common occurrence for each of us to be modest and humble and to not talk ourselves up, but Taylor’s song takes things further as the persona in this song thinks about themselves as worthless and hopeless. With Taylor offering no real solution here as to what we should do as people to combat the negative voices in our head telling us that we aren’t good enough or worthy enough for love and acceptance, Taylor shines a light on a prevalent issue amongst young people today, and encourages us to stand with our friends and check in with them from time to time, to see how they’re going emotionally, mentally and spiritually most of all.
The rest of this poignant and heartfelt album dives deeper into a variety and multitude of relevant and relatable topics, as we are bombarded with feelings of brokenness as well as hope and everything else in between. “I’m Sorry” is an honest and vulnerable piano led melody directed to Taylor’s ex, outlining to him that she’s not going to feel sorry anymore for everything he’s responsible for in the downfall of their relationship, and that she’s sorry for always feeling sorry for herself and for him; while the personal and relevant “Homesick” is a piano prominent melody where Taylor outlines that she may be ‘over’ a lot of things in her life now, but she isn’t sick of her hometown and where she grew up, presumably because of nostalgia, sentimentality and the fact that her small hometown has relevance, meaning and significance to her. “Call Your Sister” is an emotional letter to her younger sister, with Taylor outlining that her sister can call her whenever she needs someone to talk to (Taylor’s sister is 17 years younger than she is!); while the reflective and circumspect “Not Supposed To Know Each Other Yet” speaks about someone Taylor feels like she loves from afar, but hasn’t talked to yet out of fear or whatever other reason. A song about unrequited love, Taylor rationalises her feelings, and relays that maybe the ‘star-crossed lovers’ aren’t supposed to know each other yet until a distant date in the future; and as we remember the crushes we may have had or the people we hoped we would be in a relationship with, Taylor reassures us that these feelings are normal- and you never know because we may have found ‘the one’ already!
“Catch Myself”, presumably a song sung about the same guy in “I’m Sorry”, speaks about falling back into bad habits, and then ‘catching yourself’ and changing directions at the last minute to where you should be going in life, while probably the most honest and vulnerable track on this album is “7/22”. A track where Taylor outlines that she hates her birthday (July 22nd?) and hates getting older and loves to go back to when she was young and had less worries and responsibilities; Taylor invites us into the realisation that being older isn’t all that’s cracked up to be, and sometimes it’s better to be young, childlike and innocent, than to be older, weary, jaded, hurt by the world, and cynical to the max. Children are young and their minds are pure, and Taylor longs to be more like a child here, and desperately doesn’t want to be reminded about how much time is slipping away from her and how much she still wants to do with her life. An instrumental piano led interlude “at 4:15am in Sacramento, CA” breaks up the album into two parts, while “Girl Wonder” is a poppy, radio friendly melody, where Taylor highlights that she’s currently head over heels in love with a boy, and longs to know his long-term intentions for their burgeoning relationship.
“8 Months” speaks about how Taylor was in an unhealthy, destructive, and toxic relationship for 8 months (with the same guy as in the other previous songs?), as she encourages us all to run from relationships that bring us down and make us feel ‘less than’; while “Monday”, an incredibly personal song to Taylor, speaks about her resilience and tenacity after a breakup, as she recounts that ‘…when you’re all grown up and you’re falling apart, you don’t hide in your bed, you just cry in your car, ’cause when he breaks your heart on a Sunday, you still gotta get up on Monday, when you’re all grown up, you just push it all down, if you open up a little, it’ll all spill out, when he brеaks your heart on a Sunday, you still gotta get up on Monday…’. A song that semi-attacks society’s well-intentioned yet somewhat false presumption that people ‘get over’ others in the same way, at least to a degree that said people can function at work the next day; Taylor imparts to us the reality that breakups and healing from them take time, and that each person’s healing process is their own, and will forever be on a journey until… probably forever. And if other people aren’t ok with that and still want to push you from pillar to post; well then you have to set some boundaries in place. Born In July (The Album) then ends with “First Time I Was Drunk”, where Taylor speaks about being ‘drunk’ for the first time- on the love for her high school or university boyfriend; while Taylor also imparts to us 3 new renditions/re-recordings/remixes of “I’m Sorry” (sung with Josh Kerr [Hannah Kerr’s brother, and Tae’s husband from Maddie & Tae]), “Not Supposed To Know Each Other” (a more reflective and piano led ‘sad’ version!) and “Call Your Sister” (a rendition where Taylor’s sister sings in the chorus!).
As far as debut albums go, Taylor Edwards has given us a powerful, thought-provoking, and inspiring album. With topics ranging from mental health to always appreciating your roots and where you grew up, to relying on your family and staying close to your siblings; Taylor reminds us that we each have to live life each day at a time, and just figure it out as we go. Born In July (the Album) reminds us that it’s ok to fail at things when you are young (or at any age, actually!), because you can then get back up and start again… and it’s ok to hate your birthday, if only for a time. Taylor has a brilliant career ahead of her (hopefully just like her namesake Taylor Swift!), and I can’t wait to hear what is next. Well done, Taylor, you deserve all the praise and then some more!
a year ago today, i released a little EP called “born in july” and it’s taken me on the best ride. from hating my birthday, to being homesick, to watching my little sister grow up in pictures, those 7 songs became the start to THIS. it was 365 days ago that i realized i wasn’t ready to close the chapter. i went and lived a little more life + i hope you find your own soundtrack in my stories. threading together the two sides of this album has creatively been my favorite project yet. thank you to my dream TEam who helped me bring this into the world. you know who you are & ilysmmmmmmm.
4 songs to listen to: Mean to Me, Homesick, 7/22, Monday
RIYL: Alana Springsteen, Kelsea Ballerini, The McClymonts, Amber Lawrence, Carrie Underwood, Maddie & Tae