Since the release of his self-titled album in 2017, Brett Young has become one of the leading stars in modern Country music. With six number one singles under his belt, Young’s last album ‘Ticket to L.A.’ arrived in 2018 and became his first number one record. Much of 2020 saw Young focus on his single ‘Lady’, which became his sixth number one, and that song is now the lead track from Young’s new collection ‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’.
‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ is following the trend that’s currently occurring in Country music where artists release ‘collections’ as opposed to EPs or albums. That means the release is typically longer than an EP but not as long as an album. Personally, it’s not a strategy I’m loving especially when said ‘collection’ is the same price as a full-length record. Putting that quibble aside though, ‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ features 8 songs including the singles ‘Lady’ and ‘Not Yet’, and it’s a continuation for Young rather than a radical evolution.
Having found his sweet spot in mid-tempo modern Country, Young doesn’t seem keen to move beyond that at the moment, and who can blame him? What he’s been doing has worked well for him and thanks to his distinctive voice, his music always feels very comforting. The title track reflects on how life has changed for Young after becoming a father. It could also be a time capsule of the impact of the pandemic, which has changed everyone’s way of life quite possibly for ever. The lyrics tap into a feeling most of us can relate to, and it’s a strong start.
‘Lady’, a loving ode to Young’s daughter Presley, radiates with pride from a man whose family is the centre of the world. Is it a little overly saccharine? Yes, but that doesn’t stop the song from making you feel all the feels, especially during a time when we’ve all been forced to re-evaluate our lives. Most of the songs on ‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ focus on Young’s usual territory, relationships and love. The radio-friendly ‘This’ is about accepting all of life’s highs and lows, while ‘Dear Me’ finds Young assuring someone that the person they love will land back in their arms eventually. Current single ‘Not Yet’ is a mid-tempo commercially-minded track that captures two people in love and not wanting a night to end.
There are a couple of moments that push Young into new territory sonically. The sun-drenched lilt of ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a surprisingly blunt kiss-off as a relationship grinds to a screeching halt, while ‘You Got Away With It’ bubbles with the excitement of falling fast and hard for someone. I’d like to hear Young explore his uptempo side a little more on whatever comes next (hopefully a full-length album!).
The collection ends with ‘You Didn’t’, a bluesy ballad where Young reflects on the end of a relationship where the other person didn’t feel the same way. The yearning vocal is classic Young territory and I’d like to hear a completely stripped version of the track so we can really appreciate his soulful vocal.
‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ aims squarely for Young’s existing fanbase and with that in mind, the collection will fine a welcome home. I’m a big fan of Young and his music, and there’s no doubt this is a solid set of songs, but it could be time for Young to shake-up his sound a little more. There are hints that he may be working on doing just that but we’re going to have to wait a little longer to see if it happens.
Track listing: 1. Weekends Look a Little Different These Days 2. Lady 3. This 4. Dear Me 5. Leave Me Alone 6. Not Yet 7. You Got Away With It 8. You Didn’t Record label: Big Machine Records Release date: 4th June 2021 Buy ‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ now