With the success of his 2015 album, Illinois, that includes three back-to-back chart-topping singles, Brett Eldredge has put himself in the special position of trying to match or top such glory. He may be able to accomplish the feat with his latest self-titled album, which blends his trademark charm, yet also finds him experimenting with new sounds that make for a dynamic project.
The burgeoning superstar flexes his songwriting muscles, co-writing all 12 of the album’s tracks. He starts it off with the mellow, yet bouncy “Love Someone,” giving off the impression that what’s to follow is a feel-good, positive album. And while that is mainly true, he throws in a curve-ball with the moody, “Superhero,” which boasts a strong pop vibe before launching into a rock n’roll-infused chorus with heavy guitar, making for one of the best songs on the album, as he demonstrates his vocal strength while singing about a girl beaten down by love with Eldredge wanting to swoop in like a superhero and save her. And, let’s face it; if there’s anyone up for the challenge of making someone fall in love, it’s this country crooner.
He changes lanes once again with “The Long Way,” which has a softer pop vibe that’s paired with his sweet vocals and lyrics to match. The song explores Eldredge’s desire to learn all about where his love grew up and who she was before they met, and what made her into the woman he loves now. A real charmer on the album, it’s certainly one of the standout tracks that allows his voice to shine, and could be a new potential wedding song.
“Somethin’ I’m Good At” is by far the most wild and fun track, injecting a dose of eccentricity into the upbeat lead single, showing off his trademark sense of humor as he (unintentionally) makes a mess in the name of love. But his charming ways really come to life on “Haven’t Met You,” a dreamy song about thinking about all the beautiful moments he hopes to share with the woman of the dreams – he just hasn’t met her yet. “I don’t know what you do, I don’t know where you are, but I swear girl when I meet you, you already have my heart” he croons romantically, immediately stealing the hearts of every fan listening.
One of the most unique songs on the album comes in the form of “Brother.” While the CMA New Artist of the Year winner typically pours his heart out to a female love interest, “Brother” finds him calling out to a longtime friend, reminiscing about special childhood memories. The song feels like a “thank you” letter to a close friend for standing beside him in tough times, such as when his dad was sick and his friendship “did the trick,” as Eldredge sings, “I hope you know I’d take bullet, stand out on the front line, life is short don’t you know it, but everybody needs a partner in crime.”
Words like honest, raw and emotional immediately come to mind when hearing one of the album’s best and most heart wrenching songs, “Castaway.” “So why do I always try to run away from you, please don’t say, a castaway, is what I was born to do, I guess I’ll always be, lost without you” Eldredge pleads with nothing but a simple guitar and his striking voice to eloquently carry the song through. “Castaway” is one of his most poignant songs yet, making for a strong and compelling way to close out an all-around captivating album.
Charming, emotional and diverse are descriptions that suit Brett Eldredge, but predictable certainly isn’t with its eclectic mix of sounds, proving that Eldredge has grown as an artist. Like any strong project, Eldredge can create an upbeat, crowd-participation song, but knows how to pull at the heartstrings at the same time. Fans already in love with the singer are bound to feel the same about the album and those new to his work will no doubt be converted with just one listen.