Hi guys! I am SO excited for this post! Mostly because I’m behind a week on posts, and I am OBSESSED with this album – Unapologetically by Kelsea Ballerini! It just came out last Friday, and I have been waiting for it to come out for like ever! Not really… but as soon as I heard the first single – Legends. Man, that single is a masterpiece, as is the whole entire album!
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know who Kelsea is: Kelsea is a 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Knoxville, TN, and released her debut album, The First Time, in 2015, which produced her first three number one singles: Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs, and Peter Pan and became the first solo female to those three singles go number one since Wynonna in 1992. (That’s a big accomplishment these days when males are dominating the Country genre!) Her career has been a whirlwind so far and it’s been awesome to watch her reach stardom!
On November 3, 2017, Kelsea released her highly anticipated sophomore album, Unapologetically, that chronicles the last two years of her life, after the release of The First Time, in which time she broke up with her then-boyfriend and found her now-fiance, Australian, and fellow Country artist, Morgan Evans. In interviews I’ve read or watched, Kelsea explained Unapologetically as an album that reflects the growth that she’s gone through in the years since she wrote and released her first album, and the lessons she’s learned in the last two years of her life. In the time leading up to the album released, Kelsea released the official lead single, Legends, and three promotional singles – Unapologetically, High School, and Miss Me More – spread out in one-month intervals in between the release of the album.
Thursday night before the album released, I watched the internet as fans from other countries got to hear the album first, and the excitement that came from Kelsea as she watched the world hear her new album for the first time. I love the momentum and excitement that come with the release of an album from an artist that I absolutely adore. I remember back in the day when Taylor Swift released Speak Now and Red, and all of the hype that came with it. It’s one of the most exciting feeling that I’ve experienced in my life; it’s like butterflies in my stomach and cloud 9 all mixed together. To say I love music is an understatement, but I really do love music even though it’s more of an obsession. (I hate to use that word because I don’t think we should ever be obsessed with anything but music really is more of an obsession for me.)
Usually, anything that releases at midnight actually releases at about 11 pm because of the time zones, which is actually really nice because it’s like getting to listen early, but I didn’t stay up till 11 to listen to it because I had to work the next day and I like my sleep. 😉 So when I got up on Friday I made sure that the album was downloaded onto my iPod before leaving work so I could listen to some of it on the way to work, which was only like two songs, but at least I got started listening to it. I listened to some more on my lunch break, and on my short drive home before listening to the album in its entirety on Saturday morning. By the time I listened to the whole album I already had a few favorites, and couldn’t wait to hear the rest of it!
There’s something so special about listening to an album from start to end for that first time… I feel like you don’t understand the album unless you listen to it that way and really get a feel for what the artist is trying to say with the album as a whole. They work really hard to put an album together from start to finish; from writing the songs to making them into demos to making them into fully produced tracks to strategically ordering them so that they’re not just a collection of songs put together but have a similar theme that fit together to tell a story. What’s the point of an album if you just skip right to your favorite song that was already released as a single? You have to listen to the song before and after that song to see how it fits on the album. I guess that’s kind of my logic as a music aficionado, and that’s invested my time in learning all about the world of music and business.
Anyway, back to the album review…
The album starts out with a darker track called Graveyard, and at first, I was like “how dark are we going here?” , but I really love the picture that this song paints with the illustrations in the lyrics of the song. Kelsea sings of not wanting to just be another girl in her ex’s past that got her heart broken, and tells him that he can find someone else to fit that role. It’s got this eerie sound to the song, and it’s one of those songs that you can watch like a movie in your head and is kind of perfect right after Halloween.
Favorite line: “Maybe I was naive to believe you would never hurt me. But now I know why you hide in your darkest suit and shades.”
The next song called Miss Me More is a sassy comeback from the heartbreak about thinking that she would miss her ex but she missed herself more because she lost herself as she made herself into what he wanted her to be. I feel like this song can be used to relate to in other relationships like friendships when you change yourself into the person that someone else wants you to be. It’s never okay to change yourself so much that you lose yourself in the process of becoming the person that someone else thinks that you need to be.
Favorite line: “I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings. Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you.”
The song that follows is Get Over Yourself, a fast chorus song that talks about a chance encounter with her ex and saying that he’s probably telling his friends that she’s not over him, but really it was just a coincidence and she’s over him, so he should just get over himself because she’s moved on and he should too. It’s another one of those story songs that paints a beautiful mini-movie in your head when you listen to it, that’s what a great storyteller can do, and that’s what Country music is all about. It’s also a song about freedom and being able to wish the other person well because you’re better off after leaving them.
Favorite line: “And, I’m, over you thinking that every move that I’m making is just a game that I’m playin because my heart is still breaking.”
Roses is the next song on the album and is a reminiscent song that looks that on her past relationship and being able to appreciate the relationship after healing from the heartbreak that she went through. I first listened to this song on YouTube as I was searching for some new music from Kelsea, and usually, that’s the best way to find new music before it’s released. Usually, artists will add new songs to their sets as they write new material and begin working on their music and sprinkle it into their current sets. I discovered the song and had been hoping it wouldn’t get cut, and I was so excited to find out that it was on the album!
Favorite line: “But seasons had to change, And like flowers, they bloom and wither away.”
The song after that is called Machine Heart and talks about how she used to treat her heart and how she let other people treat her heart. She acted like it wasn’t an organ that felt but a manufactured item that wasn’t supposed to feel anything that could be turned on and off at any time. I love this song so much, and I’m so glad that Kelsea put this song on the album. This song is so relatable and I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it! As I’ve said before on my blog that I’m a highly sensitive person and it’s so difficult sometimes when the world tells you to “brush it off” or “just don’t take it personally”. But we were meant to feel things and it’s our job to remember that we’re all humans who do feel things. We become so heartless and cold to certain things and forget that we have hearts and feelings because we were created to feel things. God created us that way to make us different from every other living thing, and that’s one thing that makes us unique. Only we can feel what we feel as an individual. The world runs off of emotions and it’s cruel to tell others what they should and shouldn’t feel.
Favorite line: “I forgot to cry when I was sad, I forgot to fight when I was mad. I made the moves that others would approve.”
In Between is the song that follows and is the sixth song, marking the middle of the twelve track album. It’s a song that talks about being in between childhood and adulthood. There’s so much growing up that happens from teen years into your twenties, and as a twenty-one-year-old, I feel like I know that all too well. You go from being dependent on your parents as a child to being told that you need to be independent because you’re an adult now. But who decided that eighteen was the age that you should be considered an adult? There’s still so much growing up that happens between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one; you start driving a car to voting age to legally being able to buy alcohol. What makes those ages so significant when you go from being considered a child to adult in a matter of a year?(Seventeen to eighteen.)
Favorite line: “Dumb enough to think I know it all, Smart enough to know I don’t. Young enough to think I’ll live forever, Old enough to know I won’t.”
The next song is called High School that talks about a guy that relives his glory days even though he’s been out of high school for five years. You can’t stop growing up even though you want to, and there comes a time when you have to put the past in the past and grow up. You waste so much time if you keep living in the past because the world doesn’t work that way. You have to be in the present and take on responsibility even if you’re not ready for it. You’ll miss out on so much if you keep living in that child mindset of carefree high school years.
Favorite line: “Cause it’s five years later and you can’t get off of the elevator that’s going up, ’cause you’re growing up.”
The following song is called End of the World which is about finding hope in a new relationship after a heartbreaking break up when you thought everything was over. Kelsea thought that her world was over and she’d lost everything until she met her fiance, Morgan, and he brought light back into her world. It’s a song about being in this dark place and stumbling into the light and realizing that life is not over after all. It’s a really beautiful picture that’s painted in the song and it’s another one that’s like a mini-movie in your head.
Favorite line: “I thought the stars in the sky and in my eyes had lost their shine. But just like a lifeline right on time I met you at the end of the world.”
I Hate Love Songs is the song that follows and talks about how Kelsea hates love songs and all of the cliches that people associate with love. She found love but that doesn’t mean love songs are the only kind of songs that she’s going to write in the future. That’s what the world tells her that she has to do but she doesn’t want to do what the world tells her to do because she hates love songs.
Favorite line: “Oh, and I’m far too vain to kiss in the rain. The clouds, they aren’t numbered to nine.”
Next is the title track Unapologetically and is the first official love song that she wrote for her fiance, Morgan, and I heard that she wrote it really soon after they met and she’d fallen in love but she didn’t show it to him for a while because she thought it was too soon. It’s a really sweet song that tells of how much she’s in love with him, and she doesn’t care if she’s silly or reckless because she loves him that much. Someday I hope to find that kind of love; the kind that makes you act stupid cause you’re that much in love but it doesn’t matter because you love someone that much.
Favorite line: “No matter where it takes me, Even if it breaks me. I’m unapologetically all in, From the second that I started falling.”
The next to last track is called Music and I’m at a loss for words of how to describe the song because the title literally describes the song… I guess the song is basically saying how she feels when she’s with her guy and it’s that same euphoric feeling as when she’s listening to music. It’s more of a metaphoric song that describes the way she feels in her relationship, and I have to say I love those kinds of songs that use music as the way to describe something. Music is literally feelings and meant to evoke feelings when heard or played; it’s so incredibly powerful and that’s why it’s so universal.
Favorite line: “Before I knew your love Even with the volume up, it was silent then. And now you’re walking in the room all kind of smooth, like a violin.”
The very last song on the track is Legends and I think is a perfect way to end the album; the album itself is a story from beginning to end. The song was originally written from a break-up perspective and a bitter place, is what Kelsea said, but now it’s a nostalgic look back on love and she can sing it as an actual love song. The video for the song tells a beautiful story of a love so strong and unique but had a tragic ending of a huge loss. It’s a reminiscent of a love that kind of lives on in its own way because of how unique it is.
Favorite line: “We had it made in the middle of the madness, we were neon in a grey crowd.”
I think it was the perfect song to end such a strong album! Literally, from start to finish the album tells stories and goes through every emotion possible with those stories. I may be biased because I am a huge fan of Kelsea but it’s a spectacular album, and I really hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this album because it deserves that and more. Kelsea wanted to make an album that could top the success of her first album and I know she’s done that. I just hope the music world thinks so!
This album will definitely be on repeat in the weeks to come, and I’m sure it will be added to my music memory wall as an album that carries me through another season of life like music tends to do for me. Music is kind of a way for me to mark seasons of my life, and it’s a beautiful marker for those unique seasons of life. I know this album is going to help mark some amazing and heartbreaking times in my life.
I’ll remember those times as living life authentically and loving unapologetically.
Until next time,