Kelsea Ballerini

STARS: 2/5

Kelsea Ballerini’s highly anticipated sophomore album doesn’t live up to the hype. Although single “Legends” topped the charts before the album dropped on Nov. 10,  “Unapologetically” leaves much to be desired.

The record kicks off with “Graveyard,” a track about love and loss — laden with cliche beats and graveyard imagery, the song is a questionable choice for an opening track.. The second track, “Miss Me More,” is one of the few good songs on the album. In the  fun country track, an unapologetic Ballerini sings to an ex-boyfriend along to a beat that matches the lyrics, unlike the first track.

“Get Over Yourself” is a pop-infused, soft-spoken track with material along the same lines as the previous two tracks. After hearing the first three songs, the album has established the theme of reminiscing on old relationships. Some memories are good and some are bad but, nonetheless, it is a breakup album.

The fourth and fifth tracks are more of the same with an uninteresting beat and lyrics about the the past. “Roses” and “Machine Heart,” respectively, are songs one would put on in the background for noise, rather than actively listen to. 

“In Between” is the album's second bright spot, relatable for the listener and more slow-paced than its predecessors. While the track stands out more for its rhythm over lyricism, it is a decent song altogether.

“High School” is a cliche country song, with lyrics that project imagery of a small-town boy. Although it showcases Ballerini’s vocal prowess more than most of the tracks on the album, it’s too familiar a topic to be a standout track.

The next two tracks are ballads about how Ballerini hates love songs and, once again, reminisces a love from long ago. “I Hate Love Songs” doesn’t make sense on the album, considering nine of the 12 tracks have lyrics that speak to love and loss.

The last three tracks are more of the same the first five on the album, with pop-like beats and slight country twang common in today’s country music.

Titular track “Unapologetically” and second-to-last song “Music” precede “Legends,” transitioning from the ballads to the record's closer. “Legends” is arguably the album's best track, and is the only song that showcases all of Ballerini's strengths simultaneously.

Ballerini experiments on her sophomore effort, which is admirable of a young artist, but fails to execute it seamlessly. With time and practice, perhaps the songstress can hit her stride with more hits and variation in her songwriting.

Listen to "Unapologetically" below. 

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