Album Review: Kelsea Ballerini | UNAPOLOGETICALLY

Picking up right where THE FIRST TIME left off, Kelsea Ballerini brings us her sophomore album, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, releasing Friday, November 3rd.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, you have no doubt witnessed the skyrocketing rise of Kelsea Ballerini in country music; everything from multiple #1 hits from her first release to her first headlining tour to CMA, ACM, and GRAMMY nominations.

Ballerini is a vibrant, sparkling star that has helped new female artists bust those doors open at country radio, which has been difficult for female artists to break through and get airplay in during recent years.  She is the first new female artist in years to achieve a #1 hit song, much less multiple #1 songs, off her debut album on Black River Entertainment.

This album covers the last two and a half years of my life in the order of how it happened. I released The First Time when I was 21. I was so new, and I was so excited to just be able to go out on radio tour and play shows. The things that I was going through in my personal life at the time I didn’t share; I wrote about them instead. So, this is the first time that I’m able to actually talk about my life and the amazing things that have happened – and the not so amazing things that have happened – over the last few years. I feel like being able to lay it all out as it happened, in order, honestly feels so liberating and freeing. Being able to sing that truth every night is going to be a such a big gift.

This album is no sophomore slump, as so many in the past have experienced.  As much as I loved THE FIRST TIME and wore it out in my car’s cd player, this album shows such growth and beautiful lyrical imagery from Ballerini that it has become my new favorite.

It is extremely-difficult for me to pick a favorite off of this 12-track release because I find something that I love in each and every song, but here goes:

“Graveyard” holds the strongest of lyrical imagery and this mid-tempo tune is probably my favorite as she sings of lost love that hurt her and not wanting to be “another heart in your graveyard”.

“Roses” is a mid-tempo tune that has that feel of exuberance as she looks back at how good a love once was with fond memories, but her heart has now healed and she is finally at a place in life where ready to move on.”

“End Of The World” will tug at your heartstrings as Ballerini sings of how she “thought the stars had lost their shine”.

“Unapologetically” brings Ballerini full circle as she sings of being “unapologetically in love” and how “it doesn’t phase me when they call me crazy”.  She is obviously singing about the love she has found in fiance, Morgan Evans, who is signed to Warner Music Nashville.

There is so very much to love about this album.  Ballerini shares her heart and her truth on this release as she brings you on her personal journey of heartbreak, personal growth, discovery of who she is, who she wants to be, and is living her life “unapologetically” out loud.  It is beautiful and a must-have for your music collection.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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