Album Review

Kelsey Hart - Life With You

Life With You offers fans of bro-country an easy listen, blending the subgenre's signature elements of catchy choruses, laid-back vibes and relatable lyrics about everyday life and love.

Album - Kelsey Hart - Life With You
May 30, 2024 6:14 pm GMT
Last Edited June 2, 2024 6:15 pm GMT

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Kelsey Hart - Life With You

Label: Curb Records

Producer: Blake Bollinger

Release Date: May 31, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Burn My Summer
2. 4×4
3. Without You In It
4. Flannel
5. Man Down
6. Drink About Me
7. Life With You
8. Zebco
9. Better By The Beer
10. My Daddy’s Fault
11. Like You Leaving
12. Put It On The Map
13. 6-Pack Gone
14. Missin’ You
15. Country In Business

“You were hotter than a July hood of jet black mustang.” This line from the opening track of Kelsey Hart’s album gives listeners an idea of what they can expect throughout the majority of its remaining 14 tracks. Titled ‘Burn My Summer,’ it’s a testament to the staying power of bro-country, despite how overdone some of the themes are. Life With You successfully encapsulates the upbeat, feel-good vibes that have long defined the subgenre, but falls short of carving out a unique identity for him as an artist.

As the title suggests, Life With You has its share of country-filled love songs with reliable references to trucks, the sanctity of beer (right alongside prayer) and sung over well-worn guitar riffs. Bridges are familiar, yet energetic, echoing sounds that don’t quite distinguish Hart’s work from his contemporaries. The album’s title track is a simple, country-styled piano ballad that kicks off with “If you’re on a porch swing, baby I’m on it.” It’s an ode to life’s simple pleasures with a partner. Perhaps purposefully lacking much lyrical character, it’s ideally suited to be played in the background of any wedding video, first-dance or love-filled Instagram reel.

Another song that starts as a piano ballad, ‘Without You In It,’ attempts to deepen the lyrics with a bit more clever rhymes and introspective themes. However, despite its efforts, the song still sounds generic, easily able to be sung by any rising country artist. After all, ‘Drink About Me,’ nestled right in the middle of the tracklist, might ring some bells, as it was released by Brett Kissel a few years back. Likewise, ‘Like You Leaving’ employs traditional country similes to draw parallels between life’s changes and the pain of losing a partner. It’s a solid track that sticks to a classic, tried and true formula, kicking off with an electric guitar riff but not venturing into any new territory.

The most personal moments on the album are found in ‘Put It On The Map’ and “Missin’ You.’ The former expresses gratitude that Hart’s hometown remains undiscovered and unchanged, specifically calling out Nashville’s transformation due to its rise in fame. The latter, meanwhile, deals with the grief of losing a parental figure, showcasing the album’s most heartfelt lyrics, such as “I know you’d hate it, I’m sorry, but I ride your old Harley, a little faster than you’d want me to.

At the album’s bookend, ‘Country in Business’ is a spirited ode to bro-country ideals, encapsulating the lifestyle and values that define the subgenre, with its chorus, “We’re keeping country in business, dropping paychecks on women,” feeling all too dated for 2024.

Life With You offers fans of bro-country an easy listen. Its tracks are non-offensive and comfortably familiar, blending the subgenre's signature elements of catchy choruses, laid-back vibes and relatable lyrics about everyday life and love. Its polished production and predictable melodies ensure that the songs are accessible, but for fans seeking anything that hasn’t already been done, this album will inevitably fall short.

5/10

Kelsey Hart’s 2024 album, Life With You, is available everywhere May 31 via Curb Records.

For more on Kelsey Hart, see below:

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