Album Review: Brett Young’s Self-Titled Debut

Fresh off debut No. 1 single, “Sleep Without You,” country newcomer Brett Young pulls on the heartstrings in the release of his self-titled freshman album. Relationships are the focal point in this project, honing in on every aspect of them including falling together, falling apart and finding the one to spend your life with. Young plays the good-guy card in every cut, straying away from the ‘bro country’ trend, to mark his own genuine path by not being afraid to be vulnerable in matters of the heart.

Young is a featured co-writer on 11 out of the 12 tracks on the album, which was produced by Dann Huff and recorded in Nashville. Six of the songs were previously released on his EP, with the additions rounding out the project. The production through the record is minimal, leaving room for the rising country star to use his soft but graveled voice to portray emotion and tell the tales of love.

Opening with chart topper “Sleep Without You,” the tracklist is likely to be stuck in your head all day. The second song, “Close Enough,” follows up with the similar upbeat charm that can make any listener swoon. As the album progresses, Young digs deeper and expands on different avenues relationships explore. “In Case You Didn’t Know,” the current single, is a prime example, reflecting on a man who doesn’t always express his feelings but guarantees his love is true. Look out for this ballad to be popular among weddings all year long.

“Olivia Mae” reveals a love story throughout the lyrics. The song describes an admirable pursuit of a girl that turns into being the romance for a lifetime. Though not likely to be a single, “Olivia Mae” stands out on the record for its traditional formula and endearing subject matter.

Young uses strong elements of imagery in “You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me,” painting the picture of heartbreak in a heartbreaking scene: alone on an airplane, surrounded by couples in love on New Year’s Eve as the clock strikes midnight. “Back on the Wagon” is comparable to Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over,” showcasing a toxic relationship that gives into old habits, if only for one more night. The song serves as a simile between an addiction and a former lover, a relatable situation for fans everywhere.

“Makin’ Me Say” is the ultimate flirtatious song and is a guideline for what every male should say to his significant other. This song is another example of how highly Young views women, a refreshing point of view.

Heartbreak is personified in “Memory Won’t Let Me” as well as closing track, “Mercy.” His emotion is raw as he shares his pain of losing love. “Mercy” relies primarily on piano keys and vocals, exemplifying the desperation asked for in the song.

“If you ever loved me/Have mercy,” the chorus echoes.

The debut album is proof of how he landed on so many artist to watch lists for the upcoming year, including Sounds Like Nashville’s. Ladies will wish he was singing directly to them while male counterparts will be wishing they were as suave to pull the lyrics off. This project leaves room for Young to explore different themes beyond matters of the heart, but for right now it’s okay to swoon over this lovesick album.