Kelsea Ballerini releases new project during quarantine

Kaitlynn Breeden, Design Editor

Kelsea Ballerini’s new stripped-down album “Ballerini,” was released on Sept. 11. “Ballerini” is the unplugged follow-up album to “Kelsea,” which was released in March. During quarantine, the country star re-recorded the 13 songs on “Kelsea” and removed the production to make new tracks that show more vulnerability and raw emotions.

The album opens up with “overshare,” which reveals that she often gets anxious during conversations and is intimidated by silence. Using her self-consciousness and anxiety as inspiration, she created a breezy feeling song that’s easy to relate to.

One of the singles off the album, “homecoming queen,” is a personal song that has a piano accompany to Ballerini’s light vocals. This track reckons with inner turmoil and offers encouragement to not hide it. She looks beneath the surface to acknowledge the struggles someone may be facing and says it’s okay to not hide your real emotions from your peers. “What if I told you the world wouldn’t end, if you started showing what’s under your skin,” she sings.

Ballerini and Halsey teamed up for “the other girl,” which finds them trying to determine who “the other girl” is in a relationship with a cheating boyfriend. The tones in their voices are contrasting but complement each other really well.

Another single from the album, “hole in the bottle,” starts out with a clip of a soundbite of a woman who praised those who can introduce alcohol into their lives in a healthy way. The soundbite leads into Ballerini singing about her ability to finish a bottle of wine by herself. Though she blames the liquid disappearing on a hole in the bottle, the song ends with the same voiceover saying, “she has abused her system and she’s paying for it.”

“half of my hometown” paints the picture of a small town where a portion of the community moved on with their lives after high school, while the other half still reminisces about their youth. Ballerini empathizes both sides and isn’t judging anyone on either side. “While the other half of my hometown was in the crowd. They knew the words they sang them loud. And all I wanna do is make them proud.”

The main theme of the last track on the album, “la” shares Ballerini’s contradicting thoughts on Los Angeles and her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. She shares her questioning thoughts in the last chorus of the song, “I ask myself, does it feed my soul or my anxiety? Carpet’s red, ego’s fed, but it’s myself that I have to face. I’ve got a love and hate relationship with L.A.” The song reveals her questioning of if she’s “too L.A. for Tennessee.”

While the albums “Kelsea” and “Ballerini” share the same tracks, they sound completely different on each project. There’s little to no production on “Ballerini” and shows the more personal side to each song.