Brett Eldredge - 'Sunday Drive'
Brett Eldredge's fifth studio album Sunday Drive was released on July 10th. Having purchased a physical copy I delved into the liner notes and was pleasantly surprised to see a lack of song lyrics and the inclusion of short stories behind the tracks. I personally like to look through the liner notes of an album and, in this instance, it was very interesting to get more information about the background of the release.
The first thing that really sticks out throughout Sunday Drive is the more mellow sound. The overall 'sound' of the album is still intrinsically the type of music you would expect from Brett however there is less of the upbeat, poppy songs and more introspective, piano led ballads. Generally the tracks included on the release work really well but I did find myself missing some of the more upbeat numbers slightly.
I first heard Crowd My Mind at one of Brett's live shows earlier this year and was drawn to the soft emotion even at that point. The album production is slightly different to the live show but the striped back styling serves to leave the listener's focus fully on Brett's vocals. Whilst lyrically Crowd My Mind is one of the saddest songs on the release that doesn't diminish it's overall appeal.
The album's title track is highly reflective and emotionally charged. With the production primarily piano and strings only, there is no distraction from the really touching story the lyrics portray. The story feels incredibly personal to Brett whilst still being relatable to many listeners and it feels very authentic and vulnerable, interesting considering he had no input in the writing of the track. As a listener you can truly immerse yourself in this smooth emotive track.
Gabrielle and Magnolia are arguably the two most upbeat tracks on the release and they're both highly compelling. Magnolia is perhaps the most stereotypically 'country' sounding inclusion on the album as evidenced in particular by the re-emergence of a more standard expected production (it's one of the only tracks that doesn't heavily feature piano or strings). Lead single Gabrielle was the first track recorded for the album and gives the overall reflective theme a more upbeat edge. With a catchy production similar to that of Magnolia, it feels as though Gabrielle is a very strong choice to lead the album.
Where The Heart Is is the most frustrating track on the album for me personally. I really liked the production but did feel like the lyrics become frustratingly repetitive. This, combined with the general feel that the track is lacking a direction does lessen it's appeal for me and I unfortunately usually find myself skipping past the track after a while.
1) Where The Heart Is
2) The One You Need
4) Crowd My Mind
5) Good Day
6) Fall For Me
7) Sunday Drive
8) When I Die
10) Fix A Heart
11) Then You Do
12) Paris Illinois
Sunday Drive offers a strong, compelling selection of music. If you like your country music rockier Brett isn't the artist for you but he doesn't pretend to be. He clearly knows what suits him and it's interesting to hear how his sound has progressed since his debut album with Sunday Drive definitely having a slightly different feel than previous albums. I do miss hearing some of the more up-beat tracks (tracks such as Something I'm Good At and Beat Of The Music from previous releases come to mind) and the music falls slightly short of Brett's best releases (I'm specifically thinking One Mississippi and Mean To Me) however there can also be no doubt that Sunday Drive is a very impressive album from a very impressive artist.