Album Review: Danielle Bradbery’s ‘I Don’t Believe We’ve Met’

In Danielle Bradbery’s coming-of-age sophomore album, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met, the 21-year-old vocalist sheds her image of a young The Voice contestant and reintroduces herself as a matured artist ready to share her developed sound with the world.

I Don’t Believe We’ve Met is Bradbery’s first album since her self-titled 2013 debut. Her life has changed drastically since then and her new music reflects that. Most notably, her dive into songwriting comes to life on this project, in which she wrote seven out of the ten tracks.

Throughout the tracklist the Texas-native opens herself to vulnerability. Alongside established Music Row writers, including Nicolle Galyon, Rhett Akins, Heather Morgan and Thomas Rhett, Bradbery forms a cohesive album that explores honest emotions and relationships.

“The making of this new album was a lot and exciting and every emotion you could possibly think of. I got into songwriting and that led to wanting to write about just real stuff and real feelings and situations I was in and I had been in,” she told Sounds Like Nashville during a recent interview.

Bradbery’s sound evolves in this project as well. No longer bounded by traditional country, she experiments with pop and R&B tones to create her own sound. Additionally, Bradbery shows great vocal control and strays away from belting. This results in emotional ballads and raw tracks that continue the theme of vulnerability.

“Potential” is a reflective song that discusses the realization of not being in love with someone, but what they have the potential to be. In a similar heart-wrenching fashion, “Human Diary” captures what it is like to lose a significant other and everything that goes along with it.

“Cause you were my human diary/So when you left you didn’t just leave/No,you took all my secrets with you/You took all my secrets with you/And now you’re with someone else/And thinking ‘bout it hurts like hell,” she croons throughout the chorus.

The struggles of relationships are also put on display in “What Are We Doing” and “Messy,” both of which deal with unfulfilling situations that are a call-to-action to fix the problems or move on.

Though much of the track list contains more mature topics, Bradbery knows how to throw in happy tunes. The breezy lead-single, “Sway,” throws caution to the wind with airy feel-good lyrics. “Hello Summer,” written by labelmate Rhett, is the perfect song to get fans through dreary winter days and will leave them dreaming of summer romance.

Bradbery stands up for herself in bluesy “Worth It,” a girl-power anthem preaching that despite what anyone might say, you’re worth it. “Can’t Stay Mad” is more contrary, when you realize that no matter what your significant other might do, it’s near impossible to stay mad. The easy-listening song is relatable and is one of the album’s standout tracks.

It is obvious Danielle Bradbery took her time with I Don’t Believe We’ve Met with thoughtful lyrics and intentional production. She has grown up immensely since her last album and seems to have started a new and bright chapter in her career.