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Album/Single Reviews

SINGLE REVIEW: Kelsea Ballerini – ‘homecoming queen?’



Recently being named the youngest and newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, Kelsea Ballerini has broken many records, including being the first female country artist since Wynnona Judd to send her first three singles to number 1, and she’s certainly not slowing down soon. Her penultimate single ‘Miss Me More’ recently hit the top spot too. I have no doubts Ballerini’s latest tune ‘homecoming queen?’ is going to gain huge acknowledgement and continue the momentum.

‘homecoming queen?’ is the most vulnerable single Kelsea has released, and also the most sensitive. We have had songs such as ‘Secondhand Smoke’ and ‘Stilettos’ but this is a different level. Written from the standpoint of the so-called ‘perfect star’ she is, ‘homecoming queen?’ reinforces the fact that nobody is truly perfect. The basis of the song is the ever-so relatable issue of everything looking pristine on the outside but not on the inside. The high school metaphorical reference is one of the only things I dislike about the song, so I won’t go too much into it, as it is still very valid.

‘homecoming queen?’ is very simple instrumentally; an acoustic guitar, with additions of drums, pedal steel and some atmospheric electric guitars as the song develops. There’s a substantial focus on the lyric and sheer emotion of the track which is expressed beautifully through Ballerini’s raw vocal. Lyrically, the track leans strongly on the ways of today’s society, dominated by judging people purely by appearance – ‘looking damn good in the dress, zipping up the mess’ and ‘what if I told you the world wouldn’t end if you started showing what’s under your skin’. As the protagonist of ‘homecoming queen?’, a young woman herself, Kelsea will strike a chord with female listeners who face similar struggles in today’s generation.

‘homecoming queen ?’ is a very important release. It must have taken some courage to show that vulnerability to the world, especially as a lead single. This is the kind of message that girls, boys, men and women need to hear, not only to shed encouragement but also, to let others know what words can do. ‘homecoming queen?’ is a beautiful start to the KB3 era, and with the introduction of this track, it looks like Ballerini may be taking a slightly more traditional turn. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!

Shannon Hynes

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