Album Spotlight: Brett Eldredge, ‘Illinois’
Brett Eldredge’s Illinois album is a dynamic collection of styles and sounds centered around a smaller collection of themes. “Lose My Mind” is representative of the remaining 11 songs. There’s a lot of loss and a lot of love on the singer’s sophomore effort.
Illinois is a big vocal showcase for Eldredge. He commands your attention during the ballads (“If You Were My Girl,” the title track and “Lose It All”) and the funky uptempo cuts. “Tender” isn’t a word one would use to describe anything offered, but there’s really not one adjective fit to cover this album as a whole.
The production frequently ends up mirroring Eldredge’s soaring vocals, so the best moments come when the mood matches. "Fire" is first. This thumping portrait of a good looking girl is as hot as any of the singer’s previous singles, and he only turns it up from there. “You Can’t Stop Me” is so funky it’ll likely be banned in more conservative countries. Thomas Rhett adds vocals here, including the memorable “Goose is loose” line.
From there the production isn’t as creative, but the songwriting grows stronger. “Illinois” and “Wanna Be That Song” (a sure single) are sharp examples of how Eldredge has grown as a tunesmith. “Just a Taste” is a sexy R&B inspired groove that won’t do much to hinder his swagger.
“Your lips pressed to my lips / In my mind I keep replaying it, over and over / But that smile, I found that you’re my flavor / But all you left me was / Just a taste,” he sings at the chorus, dragging the final sounds of "taste" out like one would pull away reluctantly from a kiss that shouldn't end.
The three closing songs couldn’t be more different. “Lose It All” is a slow heartbreaker, while “Shadow” is a grunge-rock inspired outlaw jam. Finally, “Going Away for Awhile” is the song that best represents Eldredge’s Frank Sinatra influences. In the end he’s upped his crooner game. When he becomes a more convincing storyteller, he’ll truly be a force to be reckoned with.
Key Tracks: "You Can't Stop Me," "Lose My Mind," "Just a Taste," "Going Away for Awhile"
Home Grown: Eldredge and his "Illinois" co-writers actually wrote the album's title track in Illinois. They were driving around the rural areas of his hometown when they penned what's essentially an autobiography.
Did You Know?: Eldredge's debut single "Raymond" did okay on radio, which left him inspired. From there he tells Taste of Country he began working on his career and body like a madman.
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