However, that does not mean that Wild Ones is a bad album, because it most certainly is not. The melodic nuances are evident, the production sizzles with it's soaring guitars and atmospheric arrangements, and the technical songwriting is unquestionably well done. It's raw, textured, unfiltered, and in that respect, Moore's follow up to 2012's Up All Night is one that is more "country" than the majority of it's peers. Is it a rock album? Maybe, but it's also a damn good one.
The album opens with the title-track, a big anthem built around a down-to-earth production and a huge chorus that sounds like a potential radio hit, and is followed up with the jaunty "Come and Get It", driven by it's bouncy guitars and frivolous melody. Other moments of lighthearted lyricism include the infectious "What Ya Got on Tonight", and the mid-tempo about appreciating the smaller aspects of life, "That's Alright With Me". None of these moments work better than "Magic", which thumps along brilliantly in the vein of past album cuts such as "Crazy One More Time" before hitting a big, anthemic chorus.
It's on the more meaningful cuts where Moore shines, however. "Complicated" paints the intricacies of love, declaring that it's complications are what make it such a beautiful thing, Top-20 single "I'm to Blame" and "That Was Us" are well-done "outlaw" tracks, while "Comeback Kid" is a stripped-down, piano-driven arena ballad that touches into a more meaningful side of Moore that isn't as frequently on display. "Girl Of the Summer", a song about lost summer love, vividly portrays the melancholic emotions of the narrator, backed up by raging guitars and an infectious melody.
The albums two shining moments are painted with two very different artistic brushes: "Lipstick" and (new single) "Running For You". The former is fairly list format in it's writing, but ultimately excels with it's big guitars and hooky chorus, while never dipping it's feet into bombast. The latter touches on a more personal, emotional area similar to that of past hit "Hey Pretty Girl", with it's superb songwriting, formidable vocal performance and restrained, though effective production.
Where Wild Ones falls short on the lyrical spectrum, it makes up for in top-level production, melodies and vocals. It feels like music from the heart, from the forceful performances to the unfiltered production, Wild Ones is an album that works, and works extremely well. As a country album, there are aspects unquestionably lacking from the project, thus, the lower grade, but taken as an all-genre piece of music, it hits a lot of the right marks, and ultimately succeeds in portraying Kip Moore's artistic identity.
Top Tracks: "Lipstick", "Complicated", "Running For You", "Comeback Kid"
By Markus Meyer