Album Review: Hunter Hayes – Storyline

If you’re looking for some upbeat country music to blast while you’re driving to the beach this summer, check out Hunter Hayes’s new album, Storyline. The album has all the elements of his platinum-selling major label debut, including catchy melodies, clever lyrics, and country guitar sounds that make you want to dance. But what’s interesting about this record is that it stays true to its name.

In keeping with the title track, the entire album tells a story. The first four cuts are country love songs that are full of elated emotions and love-struck lyrics, but after an instrumental appropriately titled “interlude,” the album switches to breakup songs such as “You Think You Know Somebody” and “When Did You Stop Loving Me.” A lot of the songs also contain lyrics that refer to writing a story, such as “Nothing Like Starting Over” where Hayes sings that there’s nothing like “writing a new page to say what you wanna say.”

Hayes’s last album was full of hit singles including “Wanted” and “I Want Crazy,” and Storyline continues the trend with strong lyrical hooks. “Invisible” is Hayes’s newest hit. He performed the song live at the Grammys this year, and the rock ballad has connected with its listeners through its vulnerable lyrics and empowering message. The song builds through the bridge, culminating in Hayes singing “Here’s to you, and here’s to anyone who’s ever felt invisible.” The song is just one of many on the album that uses screaming guitars and Hayes’s vocals to create a powerful and relatable vibe with crossover appeal.

The standout track of the album is “If It’s Just Me”. The song builds from ambient guitar picking to full-fledged rocking choruses in a matter of seconds, and the lyrics drive the song when Hayes sings “I’ll take the blame, take the shame, walk away no questions asked. I’ll leave the best of me with you, and you can leave me in your past.”

Hunter Hayes may have been an invisible artist a few years ago, but after his self-titled album reached number one on Billboard’s “Top Country Albums,” Hayes was regarded as a talented, young multi-instrumentalist who was taking over the music industry with his guitar and hit singles. Now, his music is back on the charts with Storyline as Billboard’s number one country album, and he himself is back in the public’s eye as a prolific country rocker who is no longer “Invisible.”

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