Kristen Kelly is a brand new artist on the country scene, releasing her first EP on October 30th, 2012, although her slow-burning lead single ‘Ex-Old Man’ hit the charts in May. This bluesy song with a driving bassline had me ‘grooving’ from first hearing it, about a scorned woman whose best friend was having an affair with her now ex-husband. “I’ve got an ex-old man and an ex-best girlfriend” is a particularly catchy line that peppers this song’s back-to-basics feel. Twangy electric guitar fills out later parts of a song that from the line “got a damn good reason for this drink in my hand” sounds like a rant/confession to a barman or an equally lonely fellow drinker lending an ear. It has a very rootsy feel to it sonically and lyrically, it’s blunt and in-your-face and feisty and although the video isn’t too much to write home about (alright but a little average and doesn’t really match the song musically) I think this is a great place for Kristen to start from.
The second song, ‘He Loves To Make Me Cry’ has vocals that sound so much like Kelly Clarkson that I did a double-take! It’s a little old-school in that it sounds like the soul of the late 90s/early 00s, and continues the bluesy vibe in a more obvious way. I literally cannot help but sway when I listen to this, it has a really infectious vibe and its tribute to power ballads has a huge singalong factor for pouring your heart out. I feel like musically though the song should have been about a bad man making her cry, but instead it’s good tears. With the bluesy soul aspects of the song I feel like it would have had far more impact and connected with far more people if it had been negative, but maybe that’s just me.
‘Drink Myself Out Of Love With You’ is a lot more upbeat and far more in the Honky-Tonk vein. The lyrics are fairly simple, your typical country drinking song after a break-up. This is definitely a break-up song for the Pistol Annies type of girl as opposed to the Taylor Swift type of girl! It’s a bar song that packs a punch, and although it’s not really anything knew, it’s always nice to see some feminine attitude make its way onto country radio. It’s songs like these which are closest to the kind of material the men of Nashville are releasing, and it always baffles me a little that male and female styles seem to be so different still. Either way, this song is good and will definitely be great live, a real crowd-pleaser.
The final song on the EP is ‘Miss Me’, dropping down in pace but still keeping the bluesy feel that seems to be where Kristen is settling in her niche. This takes a slightly different stance to the other songs in that she’s in a relationship, hoping her man will miss her ‘every time I’m gone’. Electric guitar that provides the riff and Kristen’s soul-filled vocals glide over the accompaniment.
Overall this is a good EP with clear highlights such as the catchy lead-off single, but we’ve generally heard most of this before. I think Kristen Kelly definitely has more to give, and we need more feisty females in this industry, but right now we’re simply working on potential. It’s a good start and worth a buy, but I look forward to a full album and further material from her.
You can buy the EP here.