Reality show competitions have been good for country music artistry, evoking warm relatability with huge intricacies of vulnerability laced throughout. A superstar who attempts a reality show competition has the strong ability to making a song they didn’t write themselves sturdy and strong. This incredible talent is what launched Carrie Underwood, and the buoyant teenager Danielle Bradbery, both who have the country twang and both very similar yet so different.
In 2013, Danielle Bradbery launched her country music career after winning The Voice. She took Nashville head on and began honing her craft. Shortly after her victory, Bradbery released an outstanding self-titled debut, allowing the country music community to know the young blonde as an individual and artist. But like most young stars, Bradbery realized that not much of her were in the songs she had crafter previously. With that, she took a few years off to work hard on her craft and to make sure her next release would be a proper introduction to the young star.
Now, four years later, Bradbery has returned with a fresh perspective and a more sincere introduction then before. Having never considered herself a songwriter, Bradbery jumped in on the co-writing train and worked her way to her honest sophomore release and introduction I Don’t Believe We’ve Met. While her self-titled debut was a nice look into the potential Bradbery could be as an artist, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met is the album that displays Bradbery as the artist she was always meant to be.
The superstar penned 7 out of 10 songs for the album, each of which tell a very personal story of heartache, pain, relationships and life. A conversational fluency is evident through each track, showing just how personal she’s decided to be. “Messy” is a track that tells a story of a disintegrated relationship, while “Potential” speaks of not being in love with someone but being in love with their potential. “Human Diary” portrays post-breakup feelings in a way that’s never been done before. “Cause you were my human diary/So when you left you didn’t just leave/No. You took all my secrets with you/You took all my secrets with you/And now you’re with someone else/And thinking ‘bout it hurts like hell,” she sings throughout the chorus with emotional depth in her tone.
Many songs scream many emotions of color, some emotions are painted red, while others blue or neon. Bradbery has a profound ability to display these emotions not only through the lyrics but through her vocal ability, an instrument that has grown exceptionally since The Voice. It’s less traditional than her previous work and more inspired by R&B synths and smooth rhythmic patterns and crisps beats that would remind you of Maren Morris or Thomas Rhett.
I Don’t Believe We’ve Met discusses more mature topics, but Bradbery does know how to throw in a fun tune or two (“Sway,” “Hello Summer,” “Red Wine + White Couch”). But Bradbery also isn’t afraid to stand up for herself in the empowering track “Worth It”. Authority and empowerment is brought to the forefront, allowing the listener to know that not only is she worth it but they are too.
Overall, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met is a proper introduction to the Danielle Bradbery we’ve been waiting to meet. With sonic cohesive production and solid songwriting, we think it’s safe to say that Bradbery has much potential to be a leader in the genre. It all adds up to a more mature sounding artist, and one that we’ve grown to love and appreciate. Conveying risks, courage and young ambiguities of young adulthood and love is what makes I Don’t Believe We’ve Met one of the best albums of the year.
I Don’t Believe We’ve Met is available everywhere now.