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Category: Review

Kelleigh Bannen’s Debut Album ‘Favorite Colors’ Was Worth the Wait

Editors note: if you don’t like reading long reviews about every song on an album, just go listen to the album and form your own opinions! If you want to know more about the inspiration behind the songs, keep reading!

It’s finally here! Country artist Kelleigh Bannen has released her debut album Favorite Colors after much anticipation! Usually when people say that phrase, the anticipation has maybe been building for a year or two, but for fans of Bannen, who first released her debut single “Sorry on the Rocks” in 2012, it has been a seven year anticipation!

Thankfully, Bannen has been able to release some EPs on top of her singles over the years, which has curbed the hunger for a full length album. However, fans have finally had that hunger satisfied with the release of Favorite Colors. There are fourteen ear-worm worthy tracks on the album that were all co-written by Bannen.

The album dropped on 10/11/19 and required several listens before a proper review could be written. The thing with anticipated albums, and any album really by an artist who means so much to the listener, is that the reader who is unfamiliar with the work really needs an honest review. That requires reflection and not just an article that gets whipped up to be one of the first reviews. It took seven years for Bannen to put out an album, the least I could do is take the proper time to consume the music, reflect and offer up as much of an unbiased opinion as possible.

A personal favorite track off the album is track 11 “Haters.” When Bannen revealed it was written during the beginning of her career when she released, “Famous,” it made sense. For some reason I feel like I knew this song existed and now it has finally been able to be brought to light. “Famous” is also a favorite previous release of Bannen’s, so I’m truly thankful this song found a home on this album. It’s lyrics still ring true today. I know in the beginning of her career, Bannen had trouble reading some of the comments people would leave on social media, especially on YouTube. She has since decided to not check her YouTube comments, but you can still find some witty replies on other social channels like Instagram.

Did you really take the time out of your day
To rant about some things somebody didn’t even say
I guess you’re really not that busy anyway yeah
You’re pretty good at throwing little sticks and stones
And yeah you got the guts when you hide behind your phone
L-O-L it doesn’t make you less alone yeah, yeah

Do me a favor
Sign it off
Yeah see you later
Ain’t you got something better to do
Than sitting on your hashtags
Stalking talking trash yeah
What’d I ever do to you
All you haters

Those lyrics can be true to anyone, which makes the song universal and timeless.

The album opens with “Damn, I Still Love You,” which only briefly mentions the subject as looking good in a suit and tie. The rest of the lyrics can fit either gender and those feelings of wanting to move on but somehow not being able to.

Hey old friend how ya been
Almost didn’t recognize ya
Dressed up in that suit and tie yeah
Guess you’re all grown up
Me I’m still chasing down a dream
Keeps running away from me
Yeah some things never change

Damn I still love you
Even though I don’t want to
Wish I could help myself
But I can’t

“Deluxe” came with its own music video ahead of the album’s release and talks about love that’s a little extra. There’s a previous article about “Deluxe you can read below but to recap what was said then:

“Deluxe” has versatile melodies that can be played during a night out, to a lover, while getting ready, or even on repeat in the car if you can’t get enough. It’s everything a love song should be without feeling overdone. Share this one with a friend or listen while you’re missing that special someone.

“I just loved the idea for this song, about being a love with a little extra, and still being very relatable to so many people. I had the title for a while and finally was able to write and record it. I’m excited to be able to share it with my fans.”

– Kelleigh Bannen

“Boys Don’t Cry” is a unique take on how males react to a breakup. The premise is basically stop checking your phone and wondering if a guy is crying over you because that’s not how (most) men process things. Instead of sitting at home, eating a pint of ice cream, “boys don’t cry, they just get high.” It’s definitely a catchy song that will have you feeling slightly better about how your last relationship ended. Some things are beyond your control and instead of obsessing over them, it’s best to realize that men are men, they process things differently, they think differently and that’s probably why you broke up in the first place.

There’s a previous article that goes along with this song too!

“Boys Don’t Cry” is a cross between a breakup anthem and a letter to my younger self. At a certain point, you just have to decide to move on. If he’s not spending his time thinking about you, don’t waste another second of your life thinking about him. This song is about that, and it’s a lighthearted way to encourage your friends to get up, get it and start moving on,”

Kelleigh Bannen

“Diamonds” comes next and was the final song released before the album dropped. The music video was a little steamy and featured Bannen’s first real on-screen romance. A line plays off The Beatle’s hit “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” In it Bannen casts off the need for drugs and insists that diamonds are the way she gets stoned (way up, like Lucy in the sky). It’s definitely a fun and catchy song, which helps keep the record light-hearted and playful.

“Your Favorite Colors” is a track that is already hitting close to home for some fans. A recent encounter had fan Amanda be reminded of a friend who passed two days after she saw Bannen performing this song. She asked Bannen to play the song during a Facebook live session and remembered it being about not knowing where love goes when it’s gone.

In the track, Bannen is reminded of a significant person in her life and with each memory a color is linked, be it the coffee black, the jeans blue, or the baseball diamond green. She shared with The Boot:

“The song is about a long goodbye, essentially, and realizing that you knew everything about somebody, and the only thing you didn’t know about them is why your relationship didn’t work and where it’ll end. So that’s heavy, but it’s one of my favorite songs on the record.”

The wonderful part about this song is that even though it was reminiscent of a seemingly romantic relationship, it’s also vague enough to be applied to any kind of relationship, whether it be a friendship, a family member. It doesn’t have to be about a break up, but just losing a person, the way it sparked memories for Amanda and the loss of a friend.

“The Joneses” is an upbeat and quirky song about the famous line “keeping up with the Joneses.” In it she sings about how they (The Joneses) keep their doors locked, but she keeps her fridge stocked with Blue Ribbon and good living! Sorry folks, she’s “too busy living in the moment, to keep up with The Joneses.”

“The Joneses” was previously released as a three song EP and made history to be played simultaneously on SIRIUS-XM

“Suit” is a song about that glow of a new relationship and instantly imagining your future with them. Singing about marriage can be special, endearing, heartbreaking and emotional. “Suit” takes a different approach with it’s witty lyrics about only being “official a few weeks.”

You could ask my daddy’s permission
Or we could just ask for forgiveness
I’ll get the get dress baby you get the witness
But let’s not wait another minute

“Faith in You” is a very meaningful song to Bannen, as she has discovered the people in her life who lift her up when she’s struggling. It also serves as a love letter to fans in the sense that she wants them to know someone has faith in them. In a recent campaign that coincided with the album release, a limited amount of fans received hand written lyrics for this song.

“It’s (“Faith in You”) is really about the people you put your faith in when you’re in the middle of life’s uncertainty. When the things you turn to let you down, who do you believe in? Especially in the music business, there are so many dead ends — so many times when you wonder, ‘Is this when we call it?’ or ‘Is it over?’ You try to keep trying to fight for the thing you set out to do, but it’s the people that make the difference. Who you’re doing it with, and who’s waiting for you when you get home, who can pick you up when you feel defeated. It’s about the people you love. It’s also about the journey (life, a dream, whatever) and how that journey is really sacred when you’re doing it with the people you love.”

Kelleigh Bannen for The Boot

There are some more haunting songs on the album that add to the depth and many “colors” of the album. We’ll refer to these emotions as blue. “Sleeping Alone” definitely hits those heartbreaking tones, despite Bannen asking you not to shed a tear for her. It also has a strength in it’s haunting versus as she sings about realizing that despite the recent end of the relationship, it had really been over for a long time.

I got used to you not being in my head
Just like I got used to you not being in my bed
So
Don’t shed a tear for me I’ll be alright
I finally woke up and opened my eyes
Even on the nights you were there by my side
I’ve been sleeping alone for a long long time

“John Who” was one of the three previously released tracks on The Joneses EP and is an interesting song because of it’s complexity. During the repeating phrase “John Who” the listener feels empowered as they sing along, but it also has a sort of melancholy to it. Bannen sings about wanting a man that no longer makes her think of her ex.

I need a don’t look back kiss that stops me in my tracks
Someone that makes me say, anytime I hear your name

John who, John who, John who

“Time Machine” was recently performed as part of Bannen’s TV debut on The Today Show where she shared “I guess I’ve just been thinking a lot about how our stories don’t unfold the way we think they are going to, or on the timeline. Sometimes, that just makes you that much more thankful for the opportunity.” The song, in a sense, parallels with “Your Favorite Colors,” only instead of talking about the colors that represent memories, the memories themselves are remembered. That happens so often when we go to a place that takes us back to a date we had there, or how certain smells can remind us of different people. As Bannen says “there’s all kinds of time machines.”

The third and final song of the trio of songs released in the earlier EP is “Happy Birthday.” While the song title suggests happier times, the song reflects on more somber moments of remembering someone on their birthday, even though they are no longer a part of your life. Wondering things like whether or not they got to sleep in or their grandmother sent them a card with $20 in it. Despite the relationship moving on, you can’t seem to forget that person and the memories you shared. It has definitely been a song many have related to over the years. Birthdays aren’t always happy occasions. They can also be a reminder of those we have lost, which makes this songs melancholy tone all too relatable.

The final song on the album, “Long Shadow” is another blue color moment. It not only has a haunting melody, but lyrics to go along with it. When you just can’t seem to outrun the memory of someone, no matter how far you get from them. You could be in different countries, but somehow they show up in your thoughts. Bannen has a way of evoking emotions through her voice and her song writing.

You cast a long shadow
Even the highway can’t outrun
Somehow you’re always standing
Between me and the sun
No matter how far
You follow my heart

  • TRACKLISTING
  • 1. “Damn, I Still Love You” (Kelleigh Bannen, Will Bowen, Scott Stepakoff)
  • 2. “Deluxe” (Bannen and Danielle Blakey 
  • 3. “Boys Don’t Cry” (Bannen, Todd Clark, Jason Saenz)
  • 4. “Diamonds” (Bannen, Stepakoff)
  • 5 “Your Favorite Colors” (Bannen, Bowen)
  • 6 “The Joneses” (Bannen, Clark, Travis Wood)
  • 7 “Suit” (Bannen, Claire Douglas, Dallas Wilson)
  • 8 “Faith In You” (Bannen, Clark, Sean Van Vleet)
  • 9“Sleeping Alone” (Bannen, Bowen)
  • 10 “John Who” (Bannen, Bowen, Christopher Rafetto)
  • 11 “Haters” (Bannen, Jennifer Hanson, Jason Lehning)
  • 12 “Time Machine” (Bannen, Mark Trussell)
  • 13 “Happy Birthday” (Bannen, Claire Douglas, Wilson)
  • 14 “Long Shadow” (Bannen, Bowen, Tia Sillers)
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Kelleigh Bannen Goes “Deluxe” For New Single

Kelleigh Bannen doesn’t scrimp on the good stuff in her new single “Deluxe.” Last summer, Bannen released her three single EP, The Joneses, which garnered support on SiriusXM The Highway, having all three songs play at the same time – a first in their history.

That’s a pretty incredible accomplishment and as one of CMT’s The Next Women of Country, Bannen is nothing but incredible. She first stumbled onto the Country music scene in 2012 with her single “Sorry on the Rocks” followed by “Famous.” Both songs charted in the top 50 at Country Radio, but it was not enough to allow Bannen to release a full length album.

It’s common in the industry, especially with a new artist. They test singles, see how well they do and then decide if they are willing to spend more time and money on them. This is the kind of conversation Bannen talks about on her podcast This Nashville Life. It’s a sort of behind the scenes look about how the music industry is, from the glitz and glam to the hardships. Even the most successful songwriters sometimes do not get a hit song for ten to fifteen years.

Bannen herself has shared how difficult it is to grow a fanbase when an artist is only able to release a song every 12-18 months. That is why albums are so important. They allow listeners to hear all the dynamic sides of the artist and not just the most radio friendly song they have to release.

Every listener wants music that will speak to them. Sure, they want the ones they can roll down the window to and blast, Bannen has those too (see “Landlocked” “Famous” “Welcome to the Party”).

She also has the songs that get to the heart of country music, the ones that make you feel emotions you did not know you still even had (see “Happy Birthday” and “Church Clothes”).

Bannen has been working hard on new music, even revealing that she has already shot four upcoming music videos for her new album that will be out later this year! Her first single from the album is a love story with a little something extra called “Deluxe.” Written by Bannen and Danielle Blakey, “Deluxe” is a mix of soul and soft rock as Bannen’s vocals sing:

Deluxe
22% tipper
Buffet dinner on a date night
Just because
Like to do it on 10
You can say that again
You don’t scrimp
On the good stuff

Photo Credit: John Shearer

“Deluxe” has versatile melodics that can be played during a night out, to a lover, while getting ready, or even on repeat in the car if you can’t get enough. It’s everything a love song should be without feeling overdone. Share this one with a friend or listen while you’re missing that special someone.

Bannen is equally excited to put out new music, saying:

“I just loved the idea for this song, about being a love with a little extra, and still being very relatable to so many people. I had the title for a while and finally was able to write and record it. I’m excited to be able to share it with my fans.”

WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR “DELUXE” – NEW SINGLE BY KELLEIGH BANNEN

For fans who have been waiting for new music from Bannen, it is a very special and emotional time! Fans in other countries were treated to the song early in the day and Taylor Rolfe from Australia told us what it means to her:

It means everything to have Kelleigh release new music because who doesn’t love new music from one of their favourite artists?? I also get to share her music off to my friends in my spotify playlist that I update every month! It’s a sense of pride when you play new music to a friend and then they fall in love with that artist as well.

Listen/purchase “Deluxe” wherever music is sold.

http://smarturl.it/KBDeluxe

Taylor Swift Releases “You Need To Calm Down” Please, Take Several Seats

After the announcement of Taylor Swift’s 7th studio album being called Lover, she dropped a new single called “You Need to Calm Down” and to be honest, we are not calm!

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The song is an instant anthem for a lot of people as it calls out people for being ignorant and uses lines like

“You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace,”
And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate”

“You Need To Calm Down” spreads a mesage without being too preachy and also allows others to feel accepted.

The bridge comes in strong and shuts down people who try to pit woman against each other, there’s enough limelight to go around!

And we see you over there on the internet
Comparing all the girls who are killing it
But we figured you out
We all know now we all got crowns
You need to calm down

Beats 1 posted a video where Swift talks about the inspiration for the song saying:

I’ve observed a lot of different people in our society who just put so much energy and effort into negativity and it just made me feel like… you just need to calm down, you’re stressing yourself out. This seems more like it’s about you than what you’re going off about… just… calm down.

The lyrics address many different topics, such as people taking cheap shots on twitter vs in real life, how people get so worked up about others being gay. She even highlighted the E and A in words to stand for the Equality Act.

and she changed the spelling of glad to GLAAD, which is a LGBQT acceptance and advocate organization.

Listen to “You Need to Calm Down” and let us know what you think!

Abby Anderson releases new single “Good Lord”

Abby Anderson is a breakout pop-country artist, rising star, and ball of sunshine. Her new single, “Good Lord,” is a playful ode to her brown-eyed boy and has us falling in love too! The instrumentals are infectiously upbeat and you can hear her smile as she sings:

“Every long kiss, every slow dance. Got me raisin’ both my hands”.

The romantic lyrics have us blushing as we dance around the room singing:

“You leave me letters, on little yellow Post-its, I paint my nails a new color, and you always notice”.

We all hope to find a love like this and the godsend man who notices the little things, like when we change our nail polish.

LISTEN TO “GOOD LORD”

Co-written by Anderson, Josh Kerr and Jordan Minton.

Anderson may be thanking the Good Lord for her man but we are all thanking Him for this song! All over social media people are sharing their praises for this “certified bop.” Check out what they have to say:

One fan is sidestepping to Church!

“When you listen to ‘Good Lord’ your ears will be blessed! Abby is a country powerhouse! This song is fabbylous and instantly makes your heart happy! I belong to the church of Fabby! It’s time to sidestep raise your hands, and stream ‘Good Lord’!”

-Melissa O. @fabbyabbyamusic

Another is infected with Fabby Abby Fever

Sometimes a good song is what you need to make it through  

Even Maddie and Tae are feeling the song! They shared this on their instastory:

D2VNV4-W0AAoj7n

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Fallin’ For Dani Jack’s Debut EP ‘Grace’

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the top 30 songs in Country Music right now, but Women in Country music are making their voices heard. With ladies like Maren Morris, Carly Pearce and Kelsea Ballerinileading the way, it’s clear that females want to listen to females. Nevada native,  Dani Jack is no different when it comes to strong and independent woman, changing the face of Country Music. Her vocals have such a wide range, she can bring in the traditional country listeners and the more modern crowd.

DaniJack_Grace

With women on the rise, it’s important to have something to say and someone with whom other women can relate. Jack’s debut EP Grace has something for everyone and she told Variety Beat how special it is:

“Grace was one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to Nashville that kind of encompasses my whole life, always following my heart and my instincts even when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s a perfect representation of what this album is. I cowrote all six songs about personal experiences. I hope that anyone who listens can feel my heart and my soul in it.”

Jack recently took over our instagram story, which you can rewatch here!

Check out the rest of the EP which includes 6 songs that range all across the Country Music spectrum. From Patsy Cline to Carrie Underwood, there’s nothing she can’t sing. Her vocals shine through in each track and offer so much variety. It’s not just the same sound set to different music, but each track is truly a different experience.

“Fallin’ for It” – Upbeat and a perfect way to introduce Dani Jack to the world. It is the lead single of the EP.

“Toight I want to feel a little dangerous. I’m falling for it once again, watch my feet walk right off the cliff. When I think I’ve had enough, he’s always turning up.”

“Read My Mind” – Instantly catchy. A song that you can roll the windows down to, play louder, or jump and dance around to (preferably on a bed, using a hairbrush as a microphone).

“We’re so in sync, you got me thinking that you can read my mind. You can read my mind.”

“Grace” – Grab your cowboy boots and start swing dancing. “Grace” definitely channels some Miranda Lambert vibes as she sings about living in the fast lane.

“You can take a back seat, side street, try to keep up with her. Living in the fast lane, heartbreak rides up there with her. She ain’t gonna slow down, not now, don’t wait around for later. Cuz she’ll always find a feeling to chase, there just ain’t no saving grace.”

“Outrun” – One of the most powerful songs not the EP. It has a sultry yet bluesy sound to it as she struggles to believe in love again.

“Where I want to be loving so desperately. It feels good, but I know better, history tells me this won’t last forever. Wanna believe what you say, but I got the scars that won’t let me forget. When I let my heart outrun my head.”

“Perfect” – has such pure and crisp vocals. We really get a sense of the beautiful and simple nature of a song along with her voice.

“I feel like you’re worth it, you could be perfect, if we just let go and fall.”

“Hurt” –  The most somber song on the album, reflects on how much pain a break up can be and wondering if the other person is hurting as much as you are.

“I’m on my knees. This pain is real. Do you feel anything? I want it to hurt, I want it to burn. I wanted to see you bruise and cut right through til you’re bleeding in the dirt. I want it to ache, want your heart to break. And as you fall, you feel like all the air has gone away.”

Listen to Grace EP below!

 

More about Dani Jack:

When Dani is not focused on music, she is heavily involved in nonprofit work. She contributes her time to the Josh Powell Foundation, which provides tangible support to patients, survivors, and loved ones facing sarcoma cancer. She also dedicates her free time to the Espere Community Counseling Center, a nonprofit mental health center in Haiti that is dedicated to strengthening individuals, families, and communities by providing counseling, community outreach support, education, and hope.