American country pop artist Kelsea Ballerini released her debut album, The First Time back in 2015.
By Jane Howkins.
Like many a good country singer, Kelsea Ballerini is from Tennessee – Mascot, Tennessee to be exact. It’s not a town particularly known for it’s music scene, but the release of Ballerini’s first full-length album may be just the thing to put Mascot firmly on the musical map.
Ballerini is often described as a country singer, but she actually straddles the grey area between pop and country. Think Taylor Swift as she was when she was first unleashed onto the world mixed with a bit of Kelly Clarkson, and you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Swift herself is reportedly a fan of Ballerini’s music, adding some creedance to this claim. If you’re looking for something on the extreme end of either spectrum (e.g. pure pop or pure country) then this might not be quite what you’re looking for, but if you can be a little more open minded, then The First Time is well worth a listen.
Ballerini isn’t just a pretty face either. Whilst some of her songs are boy orientated (the extremely catchy Dibs comes to mind), there’s a social commentary underlying many of the lyrics on the album. It doesn’t always work, as Underage comes across as a little awkward, but other tracks like Secondhand Smoke bring a personal touch to such social ponderings. These songs may be catchy, but there’s some interesting wordplay going on that really bucks the trend.
There are moments when it doesn’t seem as if Ballerini quite knows which path she wants to take, and she will be forced to choose between pop and country eventually. However, that time could be a long way away yet, so for now, The First Time acts as a catchy introduction to country for pop fans, or as a smart talking initiation into the world of pop music for country fans.