Album Review: Lindsay Ell’s ‘The Project’

Like any burgeoning act in country music, Lindsay Ell is ready to forge her own path and her latest album, The Project, is a pretty effective start. 

Album Review: Lindsay Ell’s ‘The Project’
Lindsay Ell; Photo Credit: Joseph Llanes / Design by: Glenn Sweitzer

Like any burgeoning act in country music, Lindsay Ell is ready to forge her own path and her latest album, The Project, is a pretty effective start. Just five months after the release of her breakthrough EP, Worth the Wait, Ell is packing even more of a punch with her debut album The Project – and making quite a strong first impression in the process.

The album opens with an edgy guitar lick that’s signature Ell before diving into the bouncy “Waiting on You,” with her voice possibly drawing comparisons to powerhouses LeAnn Rimes and Christina Aguilera. She follows it up with the sassy “Champagne,” a sharp contrast to “Worth the Wait,” but in the best way possible. The swanky track blends a host of edge, sass and attitude, making for s standout cut on the album that transports you to a A-list Hollywood party dipping in gold and jewels as Ell drops lines like “You make me feel, like Jessica Biel, steppin’ out of a stretch, diamonds hugging my neck.” It’s the type of song you’ll undoubtedly find yourself listening to on repeat.

Just one element that makes The Project so distinctive is Ell’s ability to takes common subject matters like love and relationships and flip them on their head, casting them in a fresh perspective. Like with “Mint,” which uses witty wordplay to compare a relationship to all the different meanings of the word “mint,” backed by a breezy beat. She touches on an entirely different emotion with “Castle” that has a very different vibe from the sassy “Champagne,” exploring society’s endless appetite when it comes to fame, fortune and never being satisfied in life, showing off the insightful side of her songwriting skill.

“Space” finds Ell stepping out of her comfort zone to deliver the haunting song about the frustration the word “space” brings in a relationship, pouring tons of emotion into her vocal delivery in the process. “You said that you needed, I said that I’d wait, but baby I hate this space,” she sings poignantly. The album comes to a fitting to close with the stirring “Worth the Wait,” as we’re sure that’s how her fans will feel after hearing such a dynamic project from a rapidly evolving artist.

What makes The Project so compelling is not just the songs themselves, but the fact that they are so unique from one another but still work cohesively. Each song has an eclectic vibe, as if Ell has treated them as different characters with their own personalities, yet still makes them come together in a powerful fashion. The album as a whole is like nothing you’ll hear on the radio, and that’s meant as a compliment, as all the songs are so unique, boasting Ell’s trademark guitar skills and songwriting style.

The fact that she can go from the attitude-filled “Champagne” to the insightful “Castle” and round it out with a heart wrenching song like “Space” on one tenacious project, proves that her incredible talent is not only here to stay, but is bound to grow. Though she continues to prove herself as a master guitarist, which does take center stage on the album, her growing talent as a songwriter and standout vocalist add a whole new element to The Project, which demonstrates that Lindsay Ell is one of the best, most diverse and talented acts poised to breakthrough the country scene.