Illinois-based singer-songwriter Brett Eldredge follows his 2016 release Glow with 2017’s Brett Eldredge. Eldredge’s fourth studio album provides a softer, more personal look at the singer through vulnerable, introspective lyrics that are reinforced by its atmospheric production.
Each track includes a great deal of self-insertion from Eldredge, but still leaves plenty of room for relatability from listeners.
In terms of lyricism, Eldredge writes from a very personal place. Many lyrics deal with the singer’s flaws, especially in a romantic setting. Such lyrical content supports the artist’s choice to self-title the album as it emphasizes Brett Eldredge’s subjectivity and sensibilities. Notable tracks emphasize this subjectivity present in the album, none so much as the second single, “Somethin’ I’m Good At.” This song is sung from the perspective of an individual who, through hyperbolic scenarios, expresses that he’s not a man of great action or skill, but he is content with being the best man for the woman he loves.
I can't change the world, no I can't change a flat
If you give me your heart, girl, well, you may never get it back
You said you'd never smile again, but oh no, here it comes
Would you look at that?
I finally found somethin' I'm good at
Eldredge offers a personal delivery of these lyrics, but the main strength of the track remains its relatability to listeners. Another prevailing theme of Brett Eldredge deals with both stable and unstable relationships. A primary example of the former is present in tracks like “The Reason” and “Cycles.” The former serves to introduce the latter theme of volatile attraction. “The Reason” seems to come from the perspective of an individual pining after a romantic interest who doesn’t reciprocate. The track also bears some alcoholic undertones through lyrics like, “The reason I called you drunk is I need your love / So bad, so bad it hurts.” Similarly, “Cycles” incorporates much of the same sort of subject. In this track, Eldredge romanticizes recurring love that is expressed through an intriguing verse-structure. Each verse explains the cyclical relationship of the speaker and their love interest by recounting various reasons their relationship is incompatible. Then, there is the repetition of a pre-chorus that depicts their reunion, with the subsequent verse explaining their separation. The eight track, “Brother,” deviates from the more present themes of the album. Rather, it addresses the subject of fraternal love as Eldredge pays homage to a brother. The song is written chronologically to depict the brother’s youthful experiences to the reckless days of adulthood. Also, this song exemplifies Eldredge’s talent for the metaphoric qualities of his lyrics. “You were the quarterback when I rode the bench / You were the knuckle ball no one could hit / If you’re the underdog then you’re the comeback kid,” sings Elderedge, expressing his admiration for his brother’s support.
In terms of musicality, Brett Eldredge is an effort marked by expert mastering and mixing by producer Ross Copperman and musical diversity by Eldredge and his band. The production bears a very contemporary sound through the incorporation of synth patterns and electronic drum beats on songs like “Love Someone” and “The Long Way.” However, these electronic nuances are reserved for a more subtle enhancement that contributes to the harmonic layering of the album. Despite this, the instrumental talents are given far more prominence as the chiming, atmospheric guitar work and solemn piano are placed at the forefront. Eldredge’s vocal delivery blends well with his lyrics to provide phenomenal melody.
Brett Eldredge’s eponymous album remains a strong entry in his prolific career. The album was released to commercial and critical success and should undoubtedly contribute to his growing prominence in the genre.