Kane Brown has carved out a niche for himself in the music industry, straddling the line between pop and country. His collaborations with popular pop artists like Khalid, Blackbear, Marshmello and others only solidify that position. His new album, “Different Man,” is no different. Tracks like “One Mississippi,” “Losing You,” “See You Like I Do,” “Go Around” and “Dear Georgia” possess Brown’s typical pop production with country influences.
However, with this album Brown released tracks that drastically deviate from his usual style in either direction — one toward a resolute pop/rap and another toward a more old-fashioned country feel with rock influence. His song “Grand” is by far the most rap of any song he has released, going beyond his classic pop influence. Personally, I think the shift works for Brown. While the change would be too radical for other country artists, the song has been largely successful with his audience because of his already established place in pop music.
That being said, I also found Brown’s more traditional country tracks — especially with the added subtle upbeat rock influence — to work exceptionally well on the album. His tracks “Bury Me in Georgia” and “Riot” are energetic and invigorating. They parallel some of the great hits of the 1970s when country rock started to become popular. The songs also resemble country music from the early 2000s. It is rather fitting in that sense, one of two collaborations on the album is Blake Shelton, one of the prominent figures during that era of country music. Other facets of that old-fashioned country feel are the songs “Devil Don’t Even Bother” and “Drunk or Dreaming”, which take on more of a lazy honky-tonk mood instead of country rock. In my opinion, these songs stray a little too far from where Brown can flourish.
The most notable song on the album, however, has to be “Thank God”, which features Brown’s wife, Katelyn Jae Brown. Jae Brown released two songs in 2016 and has been absent from the performance scene ever since, opting to pursue a degree from Berklee College of Music instead, graduating in 2019. The couple met in 2015 at one of Brown’s first shows and were married in 2018. Since then, they have welcomed two daughters into their family.
Fans of the pair have been eagerly awaiting a collaboration for years. In an interview with People Magazine, Brown said that his wife is his “secret weapon”, and they were waiting for the right song to come along. It seemed he was right about the secret weapon part. “Thank God” has remained the #1 song on the iTunes charts since its release on Sept. 9. A large part of that is the emotion and love the couple share for each other that shines through in the song.
Other notable facets of the album include the return to Brown’s roots. Two of the songs on the album, “Bury Me in Georgia” and “Dear Georgia”, emphasize the singer’s connection to his home state. In another song, “Pop’s Last Name,” Brown offers a touching tribute to his grandfather, who played a large part in raising Brown after his father was sentenced to prison in 1996, an issue Brown touched on in his song “For My Daughter,” which was released in his last studio album, “Experiment”.
Overall, I enjoyed the album and the divergence from his typical style. My favorite track would have to be “Whiskey Sour” because of the beautifully melancholic mood of the song, which seems to transcend the partially frivolous nature of some of the other songs in the album.
Artist: Kane Brown
Album: Different Man
Label: RCA Records Nashville
Favorite tracks: “Thank God”, “Whiskey Sour”, “One Mississippi,” “Losing You,” “See You Like I Do,” “Go Around” and “Dear Georgia”
If you like: Country, Pop, Rap, Rock
Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5
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