Artist: Sam Hunt
Album: X2C – EP
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Label: MCA Nashville
What is there left to say about Sam Hunt, really? The guy has come in like a storm on the country scene with cuts by superstars like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, and now he’s making a name for himself with equally strong solo work. His experimental, genre-bending sound is evidently what we’ve all been wanting – we just didn’t know we needed.
Out today, the 4-track X2c EP teases what’s sure to be one of the most interesting releases of the fall. Hunt’s “Leave The Night On,” which is off to a strong start in both sales and on radio, kicks off the EP. Two tracks from Hunt’s mixtape Between the Pines, “House Party” and “Ex To See” have been re-tooled and given fuller production for the set. “Ex To See” is still the highlight here – with its clever and emotionally-wrought lyrics, but the new production is slightly overdone. Transforming the track from a heavy acoustic jam to an arena-ready rocker seems a little unnecessary – making it sound more like an Imagine Dragons song than a Sam Hunt cut.
“Break Up in a Small Town,” written by Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Zach Crowell, is downright bizarre – but in the best way. Half-spoken, half-sung verses lead to a booming chorus reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” While we’re at it, let’s take a second to talk about ALL the choruses on this album: hook-filled, sing-a-long choruses crafted to perfection.
There’s been a bit of controversy about Hunt’s sound by country purists that claim his music is anything but country. It’s true – the X2C EP is not traditional country in any sense. We’re not really sure what genre to place this EP: with R&B/rap flavor, country vocals and lyrics, and pop production – this is why Sam Hunt is blowing up in the way he is. You can’t put this guy in a box because his crossover appeal has no boundaries. And you can’t blame a guy for being diverse.