Review: Ingrid Andress’ ‘Lady Like’ Is a Modern Woman’s Songbook
Ingrid Andress has been told she's not "lady like." But through her debut album, Lady Like, Andress cuts through this phrase to establish her own meaningful, beautiful identity.
Grand, cinematic production wraps around the Colorado native's stories of independence, navigating the world of romance in the 21st century and how it feels to walk through life as a modern woman secure enough to share her experiences while serving as a voice for her peers.
Andress explores the many facets of love and life from her distinct perspective on the album, which she co-produced and for which she co-wrote all eight tracks. Combining her pop sensibilities (see her songwriting credits on cuts by Charli XCX, Dove Cameron and others) with an innate storytelling nature, Andress brings a refreshing voice to country music.
She sets this precedent with the album opener, "Bad Advice," lending her sharp mind and wit to explain how her method of getting over a breakup is to take bad advice from others. While it appears lighthearted on the surface, there’s an underlying layer of vulnerability that peeks through as Andress admits she has tendency to lean on poor decision making as a means of nursing a broken heart — a story most millennials are likely to see themselves in.
She spends a majority of the album dancing around emotion, whether in the form of an indecisive partner who won't make up their mind about how they feel in "Both," running away from love out of fear while also longing to embrace it on "Anything But Love," or observing a couple who denies the love between them as to not have to put a label on it in "We're Not Friends."
The concept of the latter track lives naturally alongside what could be that same couple years down the road making a desperate attempt to put a spark back in their relationship in "The Stranger," which captures an air of maturity in Andress' writing. But the epitome of vulnerability lives in "More Hearts Than Mine," the tender-hearted ballad that made Andress the first solo female artist to reach the Top 20 on the country charts in 2019 with a debut single. It's here that the often-sarcastic singer truly lets her guard down, taking a thoughtful look at how those closest to us become emotionally invested in our relationships and breakups, sometimes even more than ourselves.
Though Andress maintains a confident presence throughout the album, the one-two punch is how she allows herself to feel her range of emotions, like removing her mask in "Life of the Party." Akin to Sia's "Chandelier," Andress takes on the persona of a party animal at the center of the fun while in the midst of a breakup. But what the people around her don't see is the pain living beneath the surface, her fun-loving facade merely acting as a band-aid.
But the album's crowning jewel is the title track, which sees her fully embracing her IDGAF attitude and raising a metaphorical middle finger to the stereotypes that suppress women. She's the proud non-owner of a dress, refuses to hold her tongue while letting curse words fly and unabashedly states "sometimes I forget / Not to talk about politics / When I'm in the middle of me getting hit on." The song encapsulates all the qualities that make Andress special — she's intelligent in her writing, clever with her words and has a brazen personality to match. All of this contributes to her dynamic debut that sets the stage for a bright future that Andress is bound to build on her own terms, creating a powerful new definition of what it means to be "lady like."
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