On March 20th, Kelsea Ballerini put out her third studio album, kelsea, a project full of life and created to be sung loud at parties and arena concerts. She had so many plans that went hand-in-hand with that release, and when everything was put on pause, those plans were put on hold. While a fantastic record, the singer-songwriter decided she wanted to reimagine the songs and dive even deeper into the writing itself, so she released a new version of the album titled ballerini on September 11th.
“overshare”, which was a smooth, pop-country jam on kelsea is now a groovy, folksy, and even stronger album opener. This time around, with a few lyrical and melodic changes that make you want to play it on repeat, it feels back-porch personal, which is the very intent of ballerini.
“Yeah I know there are moments that I’m missing / If I’d just shut up and listen, but /
Silence makes me scared / So then I overshare,” she sings over a catchy guitar.
“club” and “the way i used to” are examples of big, arena tour-ready songs that are turned into gorgeous piano ballads. Lyrically, they always captured some of the insecurities that come with being young and going out, but now they feel like you’ve stayed up too late and you’re too in your head.
“love me like a girl” is a stunning, perfectly quiet moment. On the new version, Ballerini leaves space and uses her voice as an instrument. Harmonies and serene guitars surround the song in a perfectly understated way, making it all about the lyrics.
“I wish you could get inside my head/Baby, maybe then, you’d understand/It doesn’t mean that you’re not my whole world/But I wish you could love me like a girl.”
“bragger”, “hole in the bottle” and “love and hate” are three of the most country songs, and particularly on “love and hate” does Ballerini show off her Knoxville roots. “needy” and “half of my hometown” stay true to their original form, but because of the production choices, listeners are really able to focus on what she’s saying and how great of a writer she truly is.
Ballerini worked with longtime friend and frequent kelsea collaborator Jimmy Robbins to complete and produce the album together. They made a soulful, subtle record that really allows fans to dig into who Kelsea Ballerini is at the core.
ballerini proves that often times, artists don’t need all the bells and whistles and glitter that surround music today. At least if you can tell a story in the way Kelsea Ballerini can. If kelsea was self-aware, ballerini is all about intuition. We’ve met the colorful, vibrant Kelsea, but now we’ve formally met the girl behind the songs. Nice to really meet you again, Kelsea Ballerini.
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ballerini is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music‘ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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