Few artists have burst onto the country scene in the past year quite the way that Ashley Cooke has. The Tiktok superstar has proven time and again that her success is not limited to the App and Cooke has repeatedly established herself as a premiere songwriter and budding star in the Music City. On Friday, Cooke released her debut project, “Already Drank That Beer- Side A”. On the whole this project showcases Cooke’s innate ability to connect with audiences through her music, even on the songs where Cooke isn’t listed as a writer she finds a way to make the stories her own. From a writing and performance standpoint this project is a standout in a year already littered with them. Boasting an incredibly clear tone, and upper-echelon writing ability, it won’t be long before Cooke is known as one of the industry’s biggest stars.
Track By Track
- Gettin’ Somewhere (Alyssa Vanderheym, Hunter Phelps, Jameson Rodgers)- Bored of big city sightseeing, on “Gettin’ Somewhere” Cooke would much rather spend quality time in the truck with her boyfriend as night fades into day. Cooke’s desire is to find a no frills night away from the glitz and glamour of the downtown lights. “Gettin’ Somewhere” serves as a great introduction to this project and gives new listeners a glimpse of what makes Cooke a special artist.
- Under (Ashley Cooke, John Byron, Rocky Block) One of my favorite moments on the project, “Under” tells the story of Cooke trying every which way to get over a breakup, yet still not being able to find her desired closure. The simplicity of the production mixed with the heartbroken confusion in Cooke’s voice is a recipe for magic, and Cooke and Jimmy Robbins cooked this one to perfection. The imagery throughout this song places listeners squarely in Cooke’s footsteps reminiscing on their own failed heartbreak remedies.
- Sunday Morning Kinda Saturday Night (Matt Roy, Craig Wiseman) The placement of “Sunday Morning Kinda Saturday Night” right after “Under” is simply brilliant. After the approach in “Under” fails to help Cooke get over her ex, she tries a new approach on “Sunday Morning Kinda Saturday Night”. Instead of turning to drinking and finding new lovers, Cooke instead decides to search for inner healing and peace.The contrast of these two songs is remarkable and shows Cooke as an incredibly well rounded artist.
- Already Drank That Beer (Jessi Alexander, Jessie Jo Dillion, Wendell Mobley) My favorite track on the project, and one of my favorite songs released this year, “Already Drank That Beer” tells the story of the aftermath of a toxic relationship. In this case Cooke is remaining steadfast and refusing to return to the toxic push and pull of this on again, off again relationship. Instead of falling for this trap, Cooke states wryly “it’s too late baby we already drank that beer”. The imagery of beer serving as the toxic relationship works spectacularly well throughout this song that leaves listeners hanging onto every word.
- Opposite Of Love (Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Cooke, Jimmy Robbins) “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference” is Ashley Cooke’s hope throughout this song about holding out hope for a seemingly hopeless relationship. Cooke feels that as long as they are fighting there is still a chance that this hate can turn back into the love it once was. Cooke fears the day that this hate turns into nothing at all, as at that point she’ll have to admit that her hope was misguided and their relationship is indeed doomed. Melodically, this is a standout track and coupled with my favorite hook on the project, “Opposite Of Love’ has the potential to be a big hit.
- Good Goodbye feat. Jimmie Allen (Ashley Cooke, Blake Pendergrass) Sonically, “Good Goodbye” stands apart from the rest of the project. Leaning into more of an RnB influence “Good Goodbye” showcases Cooke’s versatility and willingness to take risks, and this one pays off. “Good Goodbye”, is the story of a relationship where the end is visibility to both parties, but instead of parting with bitterness and hatred, Cooke wants to make this a “Good Goodbye” even though she knows that this “Good Goodbye” won’t change what doomed their relationship in the first place. Both Cooke’s and Allen’s voices sound great and the vocal chemistry between the two is undeniable, even when just casually listening.
- First Time, Last Night (Ashley Cooke, Matt Roy) Running into the memories of your ex and not having feeling immediately rush back is one of the world’s most liberating experiences, and it is exactly how Cooke feels on “First Time, Last Night”. On “First Time, Last Night” Cooke goes out for a drink and runs into her memories of her ex expecting to be enveloped in a title wave of emotion, Cooke is relieved when she avoids the impending doom and comes out the other side stronger than before.
- Never Til Now (Ashley Cooke, Matt Roy) The project’s one and only love song and one of my favorite’s on the project “Never Til Now” tells the story of a girl who never thought she’d settle down and get married, or at least “Never Til Now”. The girl feels as though her nomadic tendencies and ingrained disinterest in living her lifestyle behind would result in her never finding a guy willing to accept her for who she is, until she does. What’s so interesting about this song is how it turns the common “cowboy settles down trope” around and we get to hear it from the female perspective which is so rare and refreshing to hear.
“Already Drank That Beer- Side A” manages to form a cohesive unit of songs without not becoming repetitive. Each song has its own identity and story and these separate stories came together to form one of the year’s standout projects. We can’t to hear what Side B has in store!!