Rising country music artist, Sam Hunt, released his debut album, titled Montevallo, last week, making a splash on the country music scene. Hunt’s style is a mix of country with R&B: part Justin Timberlake, part Drake, and part Luke Bryan, giving him a unique sound.
Montevallo, titled after the Alabama hometown of the inspiration behind many of the tracks on the album, features previously released songs from free mix-tapes, Hunt’s YouTube channel, and the recent EP, X2C, along with brand new tracks. The tracks from his mix-tapes were all re-recorded, showing Hunt’s effort in the studio after co-writing all of the songs. The Georgia native shies away from the recent trend of “bro country” (songs related to girls in short shorts and drinking on truck tailgates) and instead features genuine, soulful, yet sometimes corny, lyrics.
The opening track “Take Your Time” tells about Hunt wanting to get to know a woman he met at a party, and how he doesn’t want to pressure her or rush her into a relationship, but simply get to know her.
“Leave the Night On,” the first single from the album, is lyrically similar to other popular country singles, but Hunt seems genuine as he sings about driving around a small town all night with a lover. “House Party” is an upbeat, fun track with Hunt trying to motivate his flame to have a good time at home, just with one another.
“Break Up in a Small Town” is a song that those from a close knit community can relate to, as seeing a former significant other can be difficult as it seems impossible to escape seeing each other. With a catchy refrain and chorus, “Break Up in a Small Town” is the perfect break-up song to jam to in the car.
The track “Single for the Summer” is slightly immature, with the 29-year-old Hunt expressing a desire to be romantically unattached for the season to explore other options, but features a catchy and strong beat.
“Ex to See” features Hunt as a current, possibly temporary, boyfriend to a girl who seems obsessed with making her ex-boyfriend jealous. Hunt sounds annoyed at first, but then confident as he’s the one with the girl in the end.
“Make You Miss Me,” previously featured on YouTube with Hunt singing the haunting melody along with a piano, pairs perfectly with “Break Up in a Small Town.” The slow tempo and soulful lyrics show Hunt’s raw emotion after a break-up.
Many audiences already know “Cop Car” as country superstar Keith Urban released it as his own single earlier this year. “Cop Car” is a mid-tempo ballad telling the story of a couple getting arrested after trespassing and falling in love in the backseat of a police cruiser.
The popular song, “Raised On It” got Hunt on the map earlier this year. The upbeat, high tempo song shows Hunt as a down to earth, country boy with a strong connection to his roots in his hometown of Cedartown, Georgia. The accompanying music video featured Hunt hanging and partying with friends in his rural hometown, showing his love and appreciation for his small town upbringing.
The final song on the album, “Speakers,” is a slow-tempo ballad about Hunt spending time with a lover listening to music in the bed of his truck.
Billboard.com writer Elias Leight gave Montevallo four out of five stars, an impressive rating for a debut album. Leight classifies Montevallo as a post-country album, comparing it to the work of other country artists who experimented with other genres in their later work. Michael McCall of the Associated Press calls Hunt’s effort with Montevallo “a more sensitive and distinctive newcomer than most of his bro country peers.”
The album is currently number two on iTunes’s Top Albums, second only to Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989.
Victoria Holt is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. She can be reached at V H758202@wcupa.edu.