Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Kelsea Ballerini – Legends

Let’s just do it and get a [5], man…


Thomas Inskeep: A grand, sweeping, cinematic single that ably launches Ballerini’s sophomore album and shows she’s gonna stick around for a while, “Legends” looks back on a past relationship with love in its eyes rather than rancor. I love the way Ballerini breaks the title into two words (“Leh/Gends”), and the way the song’s lyrics lend themselves to Forest Glen Whitehead’s widescreen production. If T. Swift doesn’t wanna make country records anymore, that’s fine; Kelsea is picking up that career path and running with it.

Stephen Eisermann: Producers need to learn that singers with vocal abilities as limited as Kelsea’s shouldn’t be backed by kitchen-sink productions. The result is always some weird, noisy mess where the singer has to strain to compete or, as is the case here, give up and be dominated by the music. This half-baked attempt at recreating Taylor Swift’s (much better) “Long Live”” is uninspired and very, very boring. When Kelsea first hit the scene, I knew that country music record execs were trying to use her to win over the country Taylor fans who felt abandoned, but I thought they’d put in more effort than this.

Katherine St Asaph: “Fight Song” via pop Ozymandias syndrome. Shame Billy McFarlane got arrested and deprived this song of its one true sync.

Alfred Soto: She’s pleading for pathos, and while it comes naturally to her I wish she had worthy vessels into which she can pour. This aspirational twaddle about legends is Taylor Swift’s “Starlight” with the propulsion, melodic curlicues, and, well, starlight.

Anthony Easton: I like the formal choices her voice makes here — how it rises when she sings “fade,” or how she commits to what could be a fairly subtle hook, and especially how generously open “gave me” is. The guitars are pretty standard for Nashville, and she is inheriting an aesthetic from Miranda, but it’s a smart borrowing, and one that does service to the lessons of her predecessor.

Katie Gill: “Legends” thankfully eschews the awful “fuck yeah we’re amazing!!!” style that other songs with a chorus that starts off “we were legends” might be tempted to take. The song’s about a crazy, amazing past, but Ballerini performs it in a beautifully nostalgic tone, as if she simply can’t believe they were legends like she says. Everybody’s going to compare this to Taylor Swift, but Ballerini’s understated performance gives the song a gentleness that Swift hasn’t achieved in ages.

Lauren Gilbert: Ballerini is an exceedingly [6.00] artist, perfectly competent but just a little boring. “Legends” leans into the latter; it has none of the charm of “Dibs” or “Yeah Boy,” where she compensates for weak lyrics by selling the hell out of her vocal. She doesn’t do that here; apparently her “tragic and epic” love inspired the most phoning-it-in vocals of her career. And, well, this track has been done before, and done much better. Kelsea may have written her own story, but Taylor is the one who will be remembered.

Reader average: [4.5] (2 votes)

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2 Responses to “Kelsea Ballerini – Legends”

  1. Most TSwift comparisons of 2017?

  2. God, probably. I say this despite 100% being part of the problem but man, country music REALLY needs to up it’s female singers game just so we can stop comparing everybody to TSwift.

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