To all the Kip Moore fans out there, we are happy to say that the wait is finally over! After a tough year full of release-delays and practically re-creating the album from top to bottom, Moore’s long-awaited sophomore album Wild Ones has been released.
Wild Ones takes you on a ride you wouldn’t necessarily expect from Moore. At times, the album stays true to the rough-around-the-edges country man we’ve all gotten know, with upbeat tunes and an outlaw vibe. Songs such as “Wild Ones,” “That Was Us,” and “That’s Alright With Me,” mirror the unapologetic attitude found in his latest single “I’m To Blame.” These tunes showcase Moore’s confidence to say ‘this is who I am and I’m not ashamed of that,’ while giving fans a look into his lifestyle —one that is more relatable than you’d think.
If you are looking for an album that strays from your typical radio find, you have come to the right place. Moore took this sophomore record as an opportunity to explore different musical styles and sounds. The track “Magic” tells the tale of a man pining for a woman he can’t seem to figure out to (what sounds like) the tune of a nursery rhyme. About halfway through the album, Moore takes listeners back in time with an 80’s-esque song titled “What Ya Got On Tonight.” This is the liveliest track on the album, the beat of which is just bouncy enough to get you on your feet and dancing around. Moore then brings his energy and infatuation down a notch with “Complicated,” in which he realizes that love doesn’t always go the way you want it to, but that’s something he’s okay with: “What good is love if it ain’t a little complicated?”
As his fans will recognize, Moore decided to include several songs from his live EP Soundcheck (which he put on Spotify earlier this year to tide fans over while waiting for the album release) onto the album. Perhaps by popular demand, “Come and Get It,” “Lipstick,” and “Heart’s Desire” made it to the final cut of Wild Ones, giving fans a slightly more polished version of the songs they’ve already come to love. “Heart’s Desire” in particular, laden with metaphors and stunning imagery, raises the bar for the art of lyricism in today’s country music.
But if you think you know Moore after listening to these songs, this is where Wild Ones may surprise you. His ‘I do what I want’ attitude can make you think he doesn’t care about much, but Moore takes a sharp turn near the end of the album and touches into his softer side. In the incredibly heartfelt “Running For You,” (Kip Moore, Troy Verges, Blair Daly) for example, Moore puts his pride aside after a breakup and expresses compassion and encouragement instead of bitterness. “If the rain starts falling, falling on you/and your heart starts breaking, breaking in two/ if the light starts fading, baby don’t move/ just say my name, stay right there/ I’ll come running for you,” Moore sings, wearing his heart on his sleeve. The emotional tune is sure to hit home with listeners, lending them comfort in times of need.
The album wraps up with the inspiring “Comeback Kid,” co-written by Moore, Erik Dylan, Ross Copperman, and Jeff Hyde. This song — one of the strongest on the album — is a true testament to the importance of picking yourself up when life gets you down. Moore, accompanied by a piano, gives the lyrically compelling song a nearly gospel feel that hits you in the gut in a way that only true music could. Touching on the trials and tribulations one faces throughout a lifetime, “Comeback Kid” expresses the gratitude he feels that there was always someone there to support and have faith in him, even when he lost faith in himself: “Baby, all of life’s bullets, I took to the chest/ should’ve buried me alive/ should’ve left me dead/ but when I reach for that white flag, you won’t let me quit/ and you call me the comeback kid.” The powerful lyrics will resonate with many audiences, and just may be the words of encouragement everyone needs to hear.
As if the track list Moore posted in June weren’t exciting enough, the artist made a surprise deluxe edition of Wild Ones available on iTunes, which went #1 on country charts and #5 overall within hours of the announcement. Wild Ones (Deluxe) includes three beloved underground tracks: “Burn the Whole World Down,” “What I Do,” and fan favorite “Backseat.”
Moore seems to have grown from his debut album, Up All Night (2012), which with three #1 songs, was already a stellar piece of work. Wild Ones as a whole feels much more present than the first. For instance, in some songs, such as “Girl of the Summer” (possibly a sonic nod to Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”) Moore takes a look at his past from a new perspective; not how he felt in the moment, but how the experience makes him feel now — giving a fresh face to past emotions. Even sonically, Wild Ones has a different ambiance than the first album. Unique melodic choices and heavier, echoing drums fill the record and give listeners the feeling that Moore put everything he has into each song.
There is no doubt that Moore’s fans will appreciate the new direction he explores in this new music. With that said, the gritty, Springsteen-inspired edge he embodies may not be for everyone. As pop-infused country music continues to dominate the radio, it’s difficult to see where Wild Ones fits in. Then again, Moore is known for marching to the beat of his own drum and not paying much mind to what people think. So, while the rock edge Moore brings to the table may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is sure to stand out and create a buzz within the genre. Overall, with its solid production (by Brett James), rich lyricism, and palpable passion, Wild Ones truly speaks for itself.
Top Tracks: “Comeback Kid,” “Running For You,” “What Ya Got On Tonight,” “That Was Us”
4.5 out of 5
Be sure to check out Wild Ones on iTunes and visit KipMoore.Net for more information on Moore and his music.