I may not have had a Valentine this year. But Carly Pearce did release her sophomore album this past Valentine’s Day, so I’d say that counts. This is the second track-by-track style of blog post that I’ve written. I’m really excited to do these more frequently. I’ve mentioned multiple times that music – specifically country music- means a lot to me which makes more sense for me to share more of that type of content here. I’m a huge fan of this album for a lot of reasons: vocals, lyrics, production, and heart; I’m going to go through Carly Pearce track-by-track.
Carly dedicated this album to the producer and co-writer of the album, busbee. He recently passed away from a rare type of brain cancer. Although he was primarily a pop guy, he worked with a lot of country artists like Carly, Lauren Alaina, Maren Morris, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, and so many more. His work and legacy are truly incredible, and my heart goes out to his family and friends who have lost him.
I was highly anticipating this album and it did not disappoint. Although I did stream the album the first listen-through, I did pre-order the album on vinyl. Not only did I buy the album on vinyl, but I also got it signed which was really cool. Honestly, what I think would be really awesome is to take a small section of a wall and fill it with different album covers. But I digress.
Carly Pearce: Track-by-Track
Closer To You
Favorite Line: “Wanna taste that great wide open freedom / Wanna make the distance razor-thin / Wanna feel you feel me feel you breathing / ‘Til we can’t tell where you end and where I begin”
I have a bittersweet memory with this song now. When this song was first released as a single, I was dating my ex-boyfriend. We lived an hour away from each other which made for a lot of late-night drives home. I remember exactly how it felt to be driving home on the very empty highway, alone at 1 am. It was that in-between feeling of wanting to finally live together so neither one of us had to make that drive anymore, but also loving that “missing you” feeling which would lead to pure bliss when we were finally able to see each other again. While I still really love this song, sometimes I do listen to it smiling with tears in my eyes.
Favorite Line: “Tryin’ to fix that broken-heart heartbreak on your own / I bet it’s been a little while since you let yourself have some fun / Well, baby, you don’t need no permission / But if you need a reason, I could be the one”
What I love about this song is how fun but flirty it is. After you get your heartbroken, you can go into this period of self-isolation where you think you don’t deserve to have any fun. But you do. You do deserve to have fun regardless of the storm going on around you. So, kiss that guy (or woman) and don’t feel guilty about it – more importantly, don’t let others make you feel guilty for how you choose to repair your heart. It’s not up to them, they don’t get to have a say. Dry your tears, get up and look cute, and let yourself feel some sunshine after the rain.
I Hope Your Happy Now ft. Lee Brice
Favorite Line: “Who knew this heart could break this hard / Or a love like ours could fall apart / Without so much as a warning / I thought that I was what you wanted / Well I guess you found what you were looking for / I guess my heart ain’t worth it any more / I’m a wreck, I’m a mess / And I ain’t got nothing left / And so I hope you’re happy now”
This song was released as a single just a little over a month after my breakup. And it ruined me, but I really love the song. The lyrics are emotionally vulnerable and very real. The vocal combination of Carly and Lee Brice is incredible. I love that this song tells a breakup from both sides. Carly’s part is the one who initiated a surprising and painful breakup while Lee’s part is the one who was broken up with and is confused about it because they never saw the end coming. And although it’s painful, both parties still want each other to be happy.
Favorite Line: “The sun’s goin’ down on those little white lines / There’s a whole lot of homesick, ridin’ shotgun on the passenger side / Oh, and what’s up ahead, it’s not quite clear / But everything she knew just keeps gettin’ smaller in the rearview mirror”
This song is just more evidence that men in the music business don’t really know what they’re talking about. When Maren Morris wanted to release, I Could Use A Love Song as a single, a male radio DJ said no because no one wants to hear sad women on their radio. But guess what? Maren released it as a single and it became her second number-one hit. Back when Carly Pearce first heard this song when she was recording her first album, her record company said this would have been a hit in the 90s, not now. She listened then. But not now. She described it as Wide Open Spaces mixed with Jesus Take The Wheel.
This song is incredible and accurately describes how I was feeling driving alone on the move from Illinois to Tennessee. Homesick. Scared. Unsure. Kinda excited. And a whole lot of determination to follow my dreams and prove a lot of people wrong.
Favorite Line: “Halfway right doesn’t make it right / Halfway wrong is still wrong / Half of me is with you here tonight / And half of me is long gone / You can try to tell a heart to feel somethin’ that it don’t / But halfway to Heaven isn’t Heaven / And halfway home just ain’t home”
Carly has said that she wrote this song before she could write I Hope Your Happy Now. I’ve never broken up with someone before, I’ve only been broken up with. But I can imagine how hard the other half of a breakup must feel. I think this perfectly sums up the end of relationships. You can slowly feel the other person pulling away but not really wanting to notice it or address it. Because if you address it, you might just bring the end faster. I really love how emotionally real and raw this track is.
Heart’s Going Out Of Its Mind
Favorite Line: “I’m an ease in, count to ten / Yeah, we’ll see what happens / I’m a three-date, make him wait / Wait for a reaction / But you make my heart go thump-th-thump-thump / Like nothing else / Who am I? What the hell? / I don’t recognize myself”
This is another fun and romantic track that you can’t help but dance to. Carly wrote this song after only have three dates with Michael Ray – her now-husband – and it captures the captivating feeling some relationships just have on you. And I can honestly relate to it. I was never really a kiss-on-the-first date kinda woman until my last relationship. My heart really was going out of its mind for a year and a half. And I can’t wait to feel that way again someday because it was something close to magic.
Finish Your Sentences ft. Michael Ray
Favorite Line: “On second thought / Maybe we should skip that party / I was thinking that too / Don’t wanna share you with nobody / Maybe we should open up that bottle of wine / Call our friends and tell ’em we can’t make it tonight”
I fall in love so easily with songs like this. I love daydreaming and this one really brought me to a beautiful daydream so it was no wonder that Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett were the masterminds behind this song – two of my favorite artists. What made this track next level is the duet with Carly and her husband actually finishing each other’s lines. I’m sorry, but if my future relationship isn’t like Carly Pearce and Michael Ray then I don’t want it.
It Won’t Always Be Like This
Favorite Line: “I remember hearing the door slam, twenty-two, didn’t have a clue / Who I was or who I could trust and who were my real friends / I had big wings, but didn’t have a sky, just a front-row view / Of everybody flying high, waiting for my time / Wish I coulda told myself back then”
Carly wrote that this is her most personal song that she could write about her story, and I could see why. When she first released it as a single, I was going through one of the hardest parts of my life that I’ve had so far. I was dealing with a breakup in somewhat unhealthy ways and living in my aunt’s house away from my family completely out of my comfort zone. So, when I heard it for the first time, I cried. It’s one of those songs that’s so personal to the artist, but yet so adaptable and relatable to what the listeners could be going through. One of my favorites of hers.
Lightning In A Bottle
Favorite Line: “Twenty dollar cabernet / Was the same kind we always drank / Never knew it to go to my head like it did / When you were pullin’ more than you usually do / How’d you know that I need an excuse / To say the words I never thought I’d use ’til I did?”
I mean who doesn’t love a sexy wine song? What can anyone say other than wine gives you the confidence sometimes? The thing that I really loved about this track is the stripped-down feel of the band and how old school, sorta Patsy Cline vibe it has to it musically and vocally. It’s just a relaxing listen.
Love Has No Heart
Favorite Line: “It starts with the glitter, the shine of the shimmer / The flash of the picture, then after that / The fade of the glimmer, the drop of the hammer / The pieces that shatter, the aftermath / Love just don’t care who’s in its path / Love won’t slow down, it don’t look back / It don’t give a damn who it tears apart”
Another beautifully heartbreaking song, but this one was written by Trevor Rosen of Old Dominion. What I love about these lines is that it really encapsulates how picture-perfect a relationship can start and then fade despite if one person is still in love with the relationship. And that’s how breakups can feel and that’s how you can feel when you want to start dating again – like love has no heart.
Favorite Line: “Woman down, down on her luck / There goes the man, there goes the plan, there goes the truck / Woman down, down to one prayer / God get me through it for the two asleep upstairs / She can’t breathe, but she ain’t dyin’ / And there ain’t no time for cryin’ / There’s a phoenix down inside when / Her feet are to the fire”
Hands down my absolute favorite song off the album. The past six months I’ve felt like I hit rock bottom. Shit hit the fan and I didn’t think things could get worse but then they did. And this song just spoke to me the most and struck something in me. Something empowering. That yes, I feel like absolute crap at times when things happen, and I feel like I can’t go on, but I have to. And there’s nothing like a woman doing that. Rising above all the odds and carrying on despite it all. That’s powerful and something to be proud of.
You Kissed Me First
Favorite Line: “I won’t be the one to blame / If this is meant to be / And I won’t feel guilty / If you fall in love with me”
Again, what I love about this album is that it’s Carly’s journey to finding her husband; it’s fun, real, and emotionally vulnerable. And it perfectly describes how I’ve entered every relationship I’ve ever been in – I was never the first one to initiate it. Yeah, I may have flirted back when flirted with. So, you can’t be mad at me if the relationship leads anywhere because you did it first.
Favorite Line: “In the back yard, layin’ on our backs / We were fireflies burnin’ way too fast / Midnight, only you and me, perfect as can be / I still see it now (Still see it now) / Blue jean, lean in for a kiss, summer on your lips / Blanket on the ground”
I knew this song felt familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it what it reminded me of. Then I read that Carly felt it had Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift sorta vibe to it and that’s exactly it. The song feels like it’s in a dream-like state and I always love that about songs. Although it feels like a dreamy and romantic song, the lyrics are more on the sad side. It feels like it’s about the one that got away and you just can’t turn and run back to it because it’s long gone. But the good memories stay in your mind, way too vivid.
I know that it’s been nearly a month since this album came out, but I still really wanted to get this post up. This album is incredible in terms of production, vocals, lyrically, and musically. And I wanted to share that! Sophomore albums can be really scary for artists to release but this definitely did not disappoint and was the perfect follow up to Every Little Thing.
Have you heard this album? And do you have a favorite song off either of Carly Pearce’s albums?