My excitement that has been building for this album release is immense. We’ve got champagne ready, my Legends hoodie on, and I was counting down the hours until Kelsea Ballerini’s live stream countdown for the release of her third album, “kelsea“. Yes, this is yet another music post where I’m talking about a female artist who means the world to me. Kelsea is top tier for me, y’all. She’s tied with Taylor Swift for my number one all-time favorite. Let’s go through kelsea track-by-track.
Unapologetically was my album. It told the story of loss, finding yourself, and finding love. During that era, it told my story of that chapter of my life. I was lucky enough to see her in Milwaukee for her Unapologetically tour back in February 2018 where she played that entire album from start to finish plus hits. The concert was a very emotional experience for me and meant so much to me. I can’t wait for this to be the soundtrack to this new chapter of my life.
Already in the kelsea era, it’s speaking to me. For me, the first four singles that were released really hit the nail on the head. But I mean even the pink pastel colors she’s using and the white hearts are just me as heck and I’m living for the aesthetics of it. The vinyl is even iridescent pink so it’s all very exciting.
Listen I wrote everything above before listening to the album. And now I have and I have lost my mind. Y’all this is her best work lyrically, vocally, and musically. There were so many moments that my jaw dropped listening and I said “holy sh**”, “oh my god”, “yes!”, and “fu**” out loud because it is that great – in my humble opinion. This album really solidifies her insane ability as a songwriter. If this woman doesn’t even at least get a Grammy nomination, CMA, ACM, and every other award possible for this album I will personally start my own riot.
I will now be talking about this album until the end of time and telling everyone to listen to it. And I’m not even a little sorry about it. All I ever want to do now is scream about this album but will settle for a kelsea track-by-track here.
Favorite Line: “Truth is, conversations make me anxious / Even if we’re on a first name basis / Same story for the hundredth time and they roll their eyes ’cause it’s TMI / I, I overshare because I overcare / ‘Bout the person over there who’s completely unaware that / I overthink, then I overdrink to overcompensate / Yeah, I know there’s moments that I’m missin’ / If I’d just shut up and listen / But silence makes me scared / So then I overshare”
Oh my god, if I’m a song I’m this one. I want to say that this is my favorite song on the album but then I listen to the next one and I’m like no this is my favorite. I love how fun and quirky the verses are like when she said she was drunk in downtown Nashville crying and telling other girls not to date a guy with an “a” name. A messy breakup, messy healing; I’ve been there, done that.
This is all so relatable and the beat is so in tune with the lyrics. Especially towards the end with the chorus and she literally sighs after saying everything and I think that really adds to the song. Why? Because that’s literally how frustrating it is to be an aware oversharer – you know what you’re doing, you want to stop, and then oops here’s everything vulnerable and personal about me. I tend to be an oversharer in conversation and the internet – I mean have you read this website?
Favorite Line: “I don’t wanna go to the club / I don’t wanna watch everybody around me tryna hook up / And say stuff they don’t mean / And get drunk and get cheap / So what’s wrong with me? / ‘Cause I don’t wanna go to the club”
The true introvert anthem. I love this song because it makes me feel normal. And it’s a song you can dance to or a relaxing song to listen to. Don’t ask me how they can be both, they just can by the magic that is Kelsea. You could say I didn’t do college the “right” way. In fact, I was in two relationships during my time in college. Both were serious, one way more serious than the other.
But that meant I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend on the weekends rather than going out to parties. I was never a party type of person. In high school, I thought it was stupid. In college, I just knew it wasn’t my thing after going to one my freshman year. Then I tried three more times my senior year. And guess what? I still hated it. I thought something was wrong with me. Hell, I was even made fun of for it in college still. Wild. I’ll take getting drunk in my house with my friends or vibing with myself than going out and giving myself anxiety that could have been avoided. Don’t glamorize parties if they aren’t you’re thing. You aren’t missing out on anything.
Favorite Line: “Hey, homecoming queen / Why do you lie? / When somebody’s mean, / Where do you hide? / Do people assume, / You’re always alright? / Been so good at smiling / Most of your life”
This was the first single released from the album and one I’ll remember for a long time hearing it for the first time. It was roughly two weeks post-breakup and my parents weren’t home for an entire week because they were visiting my brother and his fiance. At this point, meals were being eaten in bed and wine was being drunk straight from the bottle with tear-stained cheeks. A pitiful sight. The only glimmer of happiness I had was that Kelsea was releasing a new song that night. So I stayed awake to listen to it and watch the music video. The crying at the end of the video was real, she said that “Immediately I went back to that place where I was feeling really insecure and really vulnerable and unsure of a lot in my life. I just checked into that girl, and wept. Hard.”.
Kelsea says it’s not a sad song, and it’s not. But it is a very vulnerable song and I was in tears quickly – especially with the music video. The raw energy of tired of putting up a pretty front all the time gets exhausting and it’s okay to breakdown sometimes.
the other girl (with halsey)
Favorite Line: “Is it me? Is it you? / Tell me who, who’s the other girl? / Who’s the first? Who’s the fool? / Who’s the diamond? Who’s the pearl? / Are you mad? Me too / And I wonder, in his world / Is it me? Is it you? / Who’s the other girl?”
Halsey’s sound and Kelsea’s sound lyrically and musically are so different. And I’m a huge fan of both, but they’re different in terms of sound. Yet this song somehow meshes both of their unique sounds together perfectly. Luckily, I have never been cheated on – at least to my knowledge but what I love about this song is that it’s not blaming “the other girl” for her man cheating. They find out about each other and they’re both mad but not at each other. It’s not a “typical” country beat but it’s insane and incredibly well done.
love me like a girl
Favorite Line: “So when I’m crying / Baby, pour some red / When you wanna kiss it better / Listen instead / I wish you could love me like a girl / I wish you could love me like a girl / ‘Cause my friends, they don’t hurt me, baby, not like you / Yeah, I wish you could know me, baby, like they do / I wish you could get inside my head / Baby, maybe then, you’d understand”
If I could shove this song at any boy I have ever dated and will date in the future, I would. Men are more problem-solving based and they want to fix the problem. And women are more we just want to vent about it for a second and we want you to listen and get mad with us. So when they don’t, we get our feelings hurt and get mad at them. This is why it’s important to have friends that you can talk to about girl things because men can’t offer us everything. Again, incredible beat and we love it.
She posted herself playing the acoustic version of this song over on her YouTube channel.
love and hate
Favorite Line: “We used to be so happy, didn’t we? / We used to say that forever’d be easy / But the day that you lied, I felt it all change / I crossed that thin, thin line between love and hate”
Kelsea wrote this with Ed Sheeran when she was opening up for Keith Urban a couple of summers ago. It’s one of the breakup songs of the album so you know I love it. It’s another one about being cheated on, but I find myself relating to it despite the cheating theme. It just takes me back to when relationships feel so perfect, happy, and the thought of forever is right there and then out of nowhere things change and it’s very hard to put it back together. With a few simple words, you cross from love to hate and that’s absolutely heartbreaking. What isn’t heartbreaking is Kelsea’s angelic vocals.
Favorite Line: “I’ve got his nights, I’ve got his name / There ain’t no shame in this girl’s game / If he was yours, you’d do the same / Without apologizing”
If you look up the word “bop” in the dictionary, this song would be there. The beat absolutely goes off here. I better see a TikTok dance trend for it because otherwise, that’s an opportunity wasted. I also love that it doesn’t sound like your typical love song. Yes, she’s bragging about how hot her husband, Morgan Evans, is and how great he is to her but it’s fun. It’s not overly sappy because obviously she hates love songs but still wants to write about her husband. I have this weird thing that I love when songs have name drops – so adding McConaughey and Jagger into the song made it extra fun for me.
hole in the bottle
Favorite Line: “I keep my cool, play by all the rules / I swear ten minutes ago that bottle was full / But I won’t cry about love gone wrong / ‘Cause tears would water down this ruby red I’m sipping on”
A yeehaw bop and her first drinking song. I love the retro voiceover she has to intro the song and close it out. It’s just a really fun song to dance to with a glass of wine in hand or not. The guitar breakdown of the bridge is truly what gives it that yeehaw vibe. Plus Brad Paisley is out here trying to learn it in quarantine and we love that.
half of my hometown (feat. kenny chesney)
Favorite Line: “Half of my hometown’s still hangin’ around / Still talkin’ about that one touchdown / They’re still wearin’ red and black / “Go Bobcats” while the other half / Of my hometown, they all got out / Some went north, some went south / They’re still lookin’ for a feelin’ half of us ain’t found / So stay or leave, part of me will always be / Half of my hometown”
Does this song make me emotional? Yes. Do I feel this way about my hometown? Not really. I watched a video someone made of Kelsea on stage getting emotional and they put it to the part of the song where she says she’ll always be from Knoxville, Tennessee and it got me. The vocal mixture of hers and Kenny’s was magical and everything I never knew I needed. This song is so beautiful, and nostalgic and almost feels like an extension of her song “High School” which I’m also obsessed with.
the way i used to
Favorite Line: ” Do I miss you? Well, maybe / Or am I drunk on the idea tonight? / I didn’t mean to write a song about you / But a couple shots and all the words pour out, / I swear I’m doing better off without you / So I don’t know why, but I wanna find out, / Does somebody love you in the way I do? / I mean, the way I used to / Does somebody touch you in the way I do? / I mean, the way I used to, / I know it’s three in the mornin’, it’s tequila talkin’ / Damn, your voice is all up in my head again / Does somebody love you in the way I do? / I mean, the way I used to”
The absolute best sad banger I’ve ever heard. Did she have to hurt me like this? No. But I am glad she did? absolutely. As Kelsea said on Twitter a few days ago, not all breakups are “Miss Me More” vibes. Sometimes it’s overdrinking and hitting up someone in the middle of the night that you shouldn’t. And sometimes they’re voice comes back in your head and you can’t drown out their voice or the memories. Especially when you torture yourself to find out if they are seeing someone new. This song speaks to me on so many levels. Like I said, a sad banger.
Favorite Line: “Want every moment that you’re free / And then I miss you when you leave / I bet your mama probably thinks I’m selfish / Look at what you’ve done to me / When I look in your eyes / Every day, every night / I think about you all the time / Yeah, you got me like who am I?”
This song feels like it describes what it’s like to date me. I do not want to be bothered 90% of the time. Dating for me is hard in the beginning. I get overwhelmed by talking all the time. But then when I’m comfortable, I’m so needy. I want to spend 24/7 with the person and it’s a lot. It takes a strong man to date me. This has ended relationships for me in the past. And it has been a mutual feeling in past relationships. It’s a weird time. But really, once you have me, you have me. It’s a cute love song. Again, love it.
a country song
Favorite Line: “Got me through the drama with my ex / The first time that I had sex / The day the word “divorce” got really real / My first year in Nashville / Maybe it’s ’cause of my raisin’ or what my parents were playin’ / Or when I feel my heart breakin’, no hesitation”
I love this song. Every single thing about it. I’m talking “My Church” by Maren Morris level. It just really speaks to why I love country music. It has gotten me through drama with my exes, the first time I did have sex, it’s getting me through this weird start to my first year in Nashville, it is what my parents were playing when raising me, it’s what my heart goes to happy, sad, heartbroken, in love. It’s just everything. It’s lyrically fantastic and the music is beautiful. Obsessed.
Favorite Line: “And sometimes it feels like it’s all real / But nothin’ here is as it seems / I ask myself, does it feed my soul or my anxiety? / Carpet’s red, ego’s fed, but it’s myself that I have to face / I’ve got a love and hate relationship with LA”
I’m not even kidding when I tell you that five seconds into the song, I was crying. Yeah, I cry a lot we get it. But there was something about this song that I felt in the depths of my soul. The strumming of the guitar in the intro is one of my favorite intros nows. The line above is the exact moment I knew that whenever Kelsea is able to tour this album, I’m going to it solo.
Concerts are my version of church, and this is one I have to attend solo for a lot of reasons. What’s amazing about this song is that you don’t have to live in Tennessee and visit LA often to understand. She said it’s more how she loves LA because of the weather and she can be outside more which makes her happy. But she hates it because it’s the place she compares herself to others the most. And we can all relate there. We love something but it can also have the power to make us feel awful about ourselves. A real love and hate relationship.
kelsea Track-by-Track Conclusion
You know that meme of Drake from Drake & Josh when he says he loves an album more than himself? Yeah, that’s how I feel about this album. It speaks to me on so many levels. Without a doubt, it is definitely the soundtrack to this new chapter of my life.
I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and following the rules with this whole virus thing going on. Music is what can help us – or at least some of us – to bring light to a really dark time. So I hope you find light in this album like I did. So thank you Kelsea for creating this album and sharing it with us because it means more to me than I can even put in words.
Do you have a favorite song off the album?