Country Rating: 5/10
Rock Rating: 7/10
This album was a hard one to review. Kip Moore is naturally more of a rocker than a country singer, and Wild Ones is much more of a rock album. Having said that, it’s a pretty good rock album. To rate it higher on a country Web site is therefore unfair; however, to not recognize the quality of the music is also a disservice. Hence, I gave this two ratings. If country singers actually put out country music, this problem doesn’t exist, but that’s not the case in 2015. Instead, we get pop and rock and r&b disguised as country, and more often than not, the music is just as bad in its real genre. This is not the case with Kip Moore, and for that, he and his album should be commended.
The album’s title track is a decent rock song about partying on the weekends “with the ones your mama said to run from, the ones your daddy kept you from.” The drums drive the beat of this song, and I can tell thought was put into the production. Also, they are not partying on some dirt road or even in a club; the location is actually not mentioned, and focus is more on the “wild ones” having fun. Next is “Come and Get It,” a song in which Kip is telling a woman to “come and get” his love. He asks her, “Girl, what’s the matter with you, can’t you see it when it’s standing right in front of you?” Again, the production is a plus, with drums rising throughout the song. In “Girl of the Summer,” Kip once again shows some originality by taking a familiar theme (missing a summer love) and giving it some life. Next is “Magic,” a love song in which he compares a woman’s love to a fairy tale. It is pretty original and the production helps it, but I could have done without this song being on the album. To me, it doesn’t add anything to Wild Ones at all, either from a country or rock perspective.
“That Was Us” has more of a pop rock feel. In this slow song, an old theme is once again introduced (reminiscing about old times with friends.) However, these characters actually have names, and a story is actually told. In the third verse, two friends are stopped by the cops on their way to kill a man who has been abusing their female friend. Next is “Lipstick,” a song about how Kip has traveled literally everywhere in the country to be with his woman and “Kiss your lipstick.” The production makes this a great rock song, but the point is lost because it is more about all the places he has been (three verses of listing places) than about coming back home to the woman. “What Ya Got on Tonight?” finds Moore on the road again, seeing many beautiful women but still missing someone at home and asking her, “what ya got on tonight?” Production is once again a plus, but not much to say about the lyrics.
Next is “Heart’s Desire,” a song with better lyrics where he knows he has messed up and lost a woman, and he wants her to understand she is his “heart’s desire.” “Complicated” also features well-written lyrics, telling the story of a love that is realistic, unlike the fairy tale in “Magic.” “It don’t always go just like you hoped it would, but sometimes complicated’s pretty damn good.” Also, this song sounds like an actual blend of country and rock. The lead single, “I’m To Blame” has grown on me somewhat, but it still feels like it’s missing something–perhaps a guitar solo. I do like the attitude in the song and the acknowledgement that there are consequences for our actions. “That’s All Right With Me” is another verse of the same song; a song where Kip makes no apologies for being country and being himself. However, I’d rather it resemble “I’m To Blame” than some of the other songs where people try (and fail) to prove their country cred. I think I would have liked this and “I’m To Blame” better if they were not back-to-back on the album. “Running For You” is a pop rock love song where Kip Moore promises to come “running for you” whenever she needs him. Finally, “Comeback Kid” paints the picture of a man struggling to rise from hard times and asking a woman to not give up on him. This song has some great lyrics, including “I’m a Hail Mary pass on homecoming night, six points down, the clock ticking by, come hell or high water, I still believe I can win, Just call me the comeback kid.” I could be wrong, but this song feels somewhat personal to Kip Moore, and that makes it one of the better songs on the album.
On the deluxe version, you will find “What I Do,” another verse of “I’m to Blame” (this one is helped by its track placement), “Backseat,” an actual good song about hooking up in a backseat because it focuses on the nerves and the girl, (again, old theme, new life), and “Burn the Whole World Down,” a song where the narrator is running away because a girl won’t commit. This song should have made the main album in my opinion because it is one of the better ones overall.
If there had been even two or three more songs with country leanings, this would have been a decent country album. This, however, is clearly a rock album. Having said that, as a rock album it’s good. The production is great for most of the album and there are some well-written songs too. Wild Ones is in the unique position of being a good non-country album to come out of mainstream Nashville. The most significant problem with it it is that it is being marketed as country.