Release Date: Nov 3, 2017
Record label: Black River Entertainment
Genre(s): Pop, Country, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Country, Country-Pop
For as much as artists like Margo Price and Brandy Clark are basking in the critical acclaim for their retrograde take on country music, the most daring female artists in the genre these days are those that are singing songs of empowerment and self-reliance within the trappings of a radio-friendly sound. And right now no one is doing that better than Kelsea Ballerini. The 24-year-old's second album Unapologetically has the patina of modern pop, with programmed drum beats and attention grabbing bombast.
A 24-year-old who grew up a Britney fan and now swears allegiance to Shania, Ballerini filled her 2015 debut with smack downs of Peter Pan bros and other losers, liars and users - songs that were country by virtue of the banjos and fiddles decorating their stomping choruses. When she opens Unapologetically with "Graveyard," vowing that the ghost of a broken heart won't hold her back, you can tell she's reloaded. Dial up the snare snaps of "Miss Me More" and it could be country trap.
Unapologetically is a defiant title for a sweet record, yet it also suits Kelsea Ballerini's second album. Emboldened by the success of her 2015 debut The First Time, Ballerini embraces the possibilities of being a country-pop star, expanding her sonic palette and allowing herself to seem vulnerable throughout the album. Of the two evolutions, the former is the easiest to notice, as Unapologetically is a bold, colorful record that relies heavily on gleaming electronic surfaces and drum loops.