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Brett Eldredge

Brett Eldredge (self-titled) – 2017 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Brett Eldredge

Coming off a string of six consecutive number one hits from his first two albums, "("Bring You Back" and "Illinois"), Brett Eldredge had a choice; take deliberate aim at the chart summit or follow his heart. He opted for the latter and delivers a thread of love and love lost songs. He self-titled his fourth album saying it was his most honest collection of songs to date.

The Illinois native is known for doing death-defying stunts when his songs hit the top of the charts, including swimming with sharks and skydiving. He acknowledged his biggest risk here was flexing his writing muscle. He had a hand in all 12 tracks. If you listen to the quirky lead single first, "Something I'm Good At," you may call his ability as a lyricist into question. He seems desperate for a rhyme on the line, "I'm a real bad liar/I'm a champagne kind of guy-er." Fear not, though. He proves more capable as the album progresses, especially on slower ballads, like "The Long Way" and "The Reason." Given the serious theme of the album and his head space when creating it, it makes sense that these songs stand out in their emotional impact and tight arrangement.

Like his hero, Frank Sinatra, Eldredge has been rightfully dubbed a crooner as his vocals are evenly modulated throughout the duration of his albums. Such is the case here, save for "The Reason," where he effectively expands his range to deliver a tale about drunk dialing.

Eldredge has been known for his easy going demeanor and accessibility. He proved he can take a ribbing on Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segment where he fans accuse him of being constantly drunk or doing something stupid in Wal Mart in stride; "A fair, fair statement." This effort clearly shows another side.