By Holly Smith
If you’re in love and you like it served up straight, you’ll enjoy Young's latest album.
1. Dance With You
2. Let Go Too Soon
3. Back To Jesus
5. Love Goes On
6. I Did This To Me
7. You Ain’t Here to Kiss Me (2022)
8. Don’t Take the Girl
“Do you have to be in love to write a love song?” So asked teenage journalist William Miller in Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous.
The film never gave us an answer to that question, but if the question instead was “do you have to be in love to enjoy a love song?”, then Brett Young’s new album Across The Sheets may give you an answer, with its perfectly pleasant takes on the subject.
Opener 'Dance With You' plays it safe as a classic ode to monogamy, one written, perhaps literally, for first dances. 'Let Go Too Soon' leans into the secretly universal desire to be irreplaceable to the loves we leave behind, with arena rock production and moody electric guitar that seems destined as a shot for the radio dial.
'Uncomfortable', meanwhile, is an intriguing take on love that endures in the discomfort of it, with a strange, twangy guitar tone to match. 'I Did This To Me' really showcases the blue-eyed soul of a shake in his voice, expressing the regret of a love that went unappreciated.
Nevertheless, there are still tracks like 'Back To Jesus'. This song leans on the ‘boyfriend country’ trope and is really just the country music and happy ending-friendly version of the manic pixie dream girl trope, where women exist as otherworldly saviours. “Sometimes miracles are more than making wine from water / sometimes they just come to earth as sisters, mothers, daughters” he sings.
At eight tracks long, it’s a surprise to see only six new tracks. There’s a re-record of 'You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me' from his 2017 self-titled debut album, whilst the most impactful track is one that makes more sense when you realise it’s a Tim McGraw cover.
On Brett’s cut of 'Don’t Take The Girl' - the song which he says inspired his career in country music, no less - the lyrics remain very much of their time, but the production of both this track and 'You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me', with their thumping underbeat, haul both into 2023.
It’s an even album with a gentle look at love, which takes us back to our original question, “do you have to be in love to enjoy a love song?”. Well, if you’re in love and you like it served up straight, you’ll enjoy this album.
If you’ve been in love long enough for the honeymoon to still be lingering somewhere in the rearview, then you’ll enjoy it even more.
6.5 / 10
Brett Young's 2023 album, Across The Sheets, is released August 4th via Big Machine Label Group.
For more on Brett Young, see below: