Album Review: Kane Brown’s Self-Titled Debut

The diversity displayed in Kane Brown's self-titled debut album begins to unravel him and all of the talent that he has to offer.

Written by Laura Hostelley
Album Review: Kane Brown’s Self-Titled Debut
Kane Brown, Cover art courtesy RCA Nashville

Country newcomer Kane Brown is preparing to release his self-titled album just over one year after planting roots in Nashville. On this debut project, Brown uncovers the mystery that has surrounded him by revealing parts of his past throughout the 11-song tracklist.

Brown is far from your typical country artist, but with more than half of the songwriter credits on the project there is no denying his lyrics and storytelling abilities have a home in the country music community. During a recent album release party in Music City, the 23-year-old became teary-eyed and emotional when talking about his music and the events that lead him to where he is now. The genuine heart-touching moment paints a preview of what listeners can expect as they dive deeper into the record.

“Learning” opens the book into Brown’s upbringing and takes you through his journey including an abusive stepfather, racism, growing up poor and losing friends to overdose and gun violence. The hook of the song is a coming-of-age enlightenment that encourages letting go of the past and moving on. “Learning” features an upbeat tempo which adds to the theme of not letting life bring you down, despite what it throws your way. The vulnerability of this track shares the trials Brown has had to overcome in his short life, leaving listeners rooting not only for him, but all underdogs in similar situations.

Autobiographical cuts “Cold Spot” and “Granddaddy’s Chair” tug on the heartstrings as Brown adoringly sings about his own grandfather. “Cold Spot” is reminiscent of growing up in his granddad’s store and “Granddaddy’s Chair” takes it a step further by Brown expressing the desire to grow up to be just like him. The minimalist production approach leaves room for the lyrics and sentiment of the songs to shine through. Unfortunately, Brown shared that his inspiration for both of these songs passed away before he had the chance to hear them.

Although Brown knows how to keep it personal, his album also contains tracks that provide the perfect soundtrack to driving with the windows down while the breeze flows through, including “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” “Rockstars” and his current single, “Thunder in the Rain.” Featuring modern pop-infused beats and production, these tracks are comparable to the likings of Cole Swindell, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.

Brown appeals to the females by slowing it down and keeping it sexy in key songs “What If’s,” and “Pull it Off.” The rocker-style in both tracks highlight the performer’s deep voice, adding to the sensuality components as well.

“Hometown,” penned by the boys of Florida Georgia Line, sums up the project as a whole. All Brown does in his career isn’t just for him, but everyone that helped him get there. This anthem could set the tone for any of his live shows and could completely raise the energy level anywhere it is performed.

The diversity displayed in Brown’s freshman record begins to unravel him and all of the talent that he has to offer. Though far from traditional, Brown draws inspiration from several country icons, including his personal hero Randy Travis, throughout the record. After listening to his self-titled debut, it is apparent how far Brown has come and the bright future he still has in front of him.