Hailey Whitters’ ‘Raised’ Is a Songwriting Clinic

Espousing the rugged simplicity of Hailey Whitters’ heartland upbringing, Raised is country music at it’s finest. From the simple and infectious melodies to the deep and incisive lyrics Raised is a true treat for the ears of listeners. Spanning 17 tracks Raised takes listeners on a fun and thoughtful journey through Whitters’ life journey, and Whitters’ lowkey and subdued narration provides the perfect backdrop for these stories to not just be heard but felt by listeners.

Opening and closing with instrumental tracks, Whitters’ pays homage to the journey and the hard work she’s put in to make her dreams a reality. Songs like Raised and Middle of America display Whitters’ small town ideals and give listeners a peak of just how she was Raised. Whitters’ references to niche specific imagery plants a last memory in the minds’ of listeners, even those that have never stepped foot on the farm. Whitters’ ability to make the specifics feel general is truly one of a kind and a just small part of what makes her such a special artist. Big Family, Boys Back Home, and Our Grass Is Legal continue the homey nature of the project, leaving listeners with a clear and lasting image of the values with which Whitters was raised. Boys Back Home is particular is a true standout on the project, allowing listeners to see a more emotional and vulnerable Whitters remarking on all the lessons she’s learned on small town Saturday nights.

However, The Neon, Everything She Ain’t, and College Town are where the album shines brightest. The Neon is the project’s only true heartbreaking, and an incredible one at that. Feeling love slipping away, Whitters begins to acknowledge the next stage of her life, The Neon, is quickly approaching, and there’s no much she can do to keep it at bay. Everything She Ain’t is a true Taylor Swift meets Kacey Musgraves sass anthem, as Whitters tries to convince a guy that he’s with the wrong girl, and show him just how much better off he’d be with her. College Town is my favorite from a songwriting perspective, as ,Whitters tells the story of a naïve girl going to college thinking that she knows all there is to know about life only to find out “they don’t teach you in school what you learn in a College Town“.

Raised is a truly remarkable project because of it’s sophisticated simplicity, and Whitters’ next level storytelling ability. While, I thought it’d be difficult for Whitters to outdo her debut album, The Dream, Raised manages to blow it out of the water and become an early contender for album of the year.

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