From the moment your ears take in those first couple chords, you think Country. It’s with the opening line; I stay torn between lovin’ him and killin’ him, that you know you’re about to hear some real genuine Country music. Kellie Pickler has finally released her third studio album ‘100 Proof’. A long awaited release for fans, but definitely worth the wait of the roughly three years it has been. Fans can happily say goodbye to the polished Country-Pop sounds that were displayed on Pickler’s previous self-titled release and hello to these more traditional Country sounds with a fresh spin. The ears are pleasantly exposed to more steel guitar, banjo and even fiddle among other instruments that can be heard throughout the album. It is eleven tracks of real Country music. Starting with the first two tracks ‘Where’s Tammy Wynette’ and ‘Unlock That Honky Tonk’ which most certainly make for the perfect opening as both are fun, yet effectively genuine to the singer’s roots and genre.
This is without a doubt the most personal work yet done by the 25-year old singer and songwriter. Kellie co-wrote six of the tracks on ‘100 Proof’ including the heart string tugging songs about her parents. Though Pickler has stated she didn’t write the song ‘Mother’s Day’ to be heard by her mother, who abandoned her when she was young. It was a song she wrote for herself to be able to heal and move on. It is definitely one of the most emotional ballads this album has to offer with lines like, I pray that there’s a way, that life could skip a day to Monday. As well as the line, Maybe one day God’ll bless me with a daughter of my own. We’ll have a love I’ve never known. The song for her father, ‘The Letter (To Daddy)’ will strum those heart strings all the more as you hear a clear thankfulness in her vocals that her father has found sobriety. The track’s opening line, The bottle took you from me when I was a child, will likely have you already feeling a bit choked up as the singer continues to croon out a this beautiful and very personal letter to her father.
Perhaps one of the most relatable tracks off the album is ‘Long As I Never See You Again’. We’ve all had our heart broken at one point or another. This ballad definitely puts the feelings of moving on into words. I’m through that pity party stage; the healings finally come of age. Right with the chorus we all could sing so profoundly along with, It’s never easy when loves comes to an end. Just when you think you’re off the hook, you fall back in. The other song to fall into the ‘break up’ category would be the one I personally feel is a fun warning. ‘Stop Cheatin’ On Me’, the chorus says it all with the line, Stop cheatin’ on me or I’ll start cheatin’ on you! It’s playful and raw all at the same time.
Love is another emotion you get to experience strongly in the music on ‘100 Proof’, with the title track even you hear of two sides of the coin. Of the couple who fights and the one who will …go home and lay down safe in the arms of love. Another noteworthy love soaked track is the one Kellie wrote for her husband of one year, songwriter Kyle Jacobs. It’s such a treat to hear such positive love expressed in music today. This track contains some pretty sweet melodies mixed with lyrics such as, Soaking up heaven, counting on the stars. Talking about babies, how the future ain’t so far. I hope they have your brown eyes and forever loving heart. For an even mellower track, ‘Turn On The Radio And Dance’ provides a very sweet sway-worthy loving tune.
Pickler’s vocals have clearly matured beautifully and it’s no wonder this album has already generated such positive buzz around it. Her lead off single ‘Tough’ was the perfect amount of in your face sass to introduce the 100 Proof album. It’s such a treat to hear Kellie going back into her roots, bringing traditional Country music with a good amount of freshness around it to make it more current. Including on the up-tempo track, ‘Little House On The Highway’. Over all this is clearly a must have album for all Country music fans and one that will hopefully further breakout this very talented singer.