ToC Critic’s Pick: Brett Young, ‘Brett Young’
Brett Young's debut album is filled with songs of love and love lost. The pop-friendly collection of musings from the California native's heart and songbook is at its best when he leans into these highs and lows.
Brett Young serves as an introduction to this exciting newcomer and in some ways stops there. Songs like "Mercy" and "You Ain't Here to Kiss Me" tease one with a fragile vulnerability missing in so many country male catalogs. But he (almost) never loses control completely. Vocally he shows range during cuts like "Like I Loved You" and supreme understanding of melody during songs like "Memory Won't Let Me." Each saves a few bullets for his next project.
Honesty and lyrical creativity are Brett Young's biggest strengths. No male singer owns a desire to settle down with the love of his life quite like Young does. Missing are the cliche observations so many rely on, replaced by words one is sure he's spoken in conversation. "In Case You Didn't Know" is the best example of a song that is pure poetry set to guitar. The imaginative "Olivia Mae" and "Beautiful Believer" are standout tracks as well. Young is the kind of the guy who does everything well, but humbly lets you know who could still do everything even better.
Both radio singles ("Sleep Without You" and "In Case You Didn't Know") are sensitive love songs, so most haven't seen him bleeding yet. "You Ain't Here to Kiss Me" and "Mercy" — two songs inspired by the end of the same relationship — will break your heart. The latter is a raw piano-driven ballad he once thought too painful to include on Brett Young. Nothing is lost in translation.
Key Tracks: "In Case You Didn't Know," "Olivia Mae," "You Ain't Here to Kiss Me," "Mercy"
Did You Know?: There's a reason many songs sound like poetry. Young often quotes poets or other wordsmiths on his Instagram page, and grew up reciting verse on his textbooks.
Watch Brett Young Perform "In Case You Didn't Know"