American country star Hunter Hayes has talent written all over him: the 23 year old can play more than thirty instruments; he became the youngest male act to ever top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and has been nominated for a total of four Grammy awards; not to mention winning three BMI awards and taking home the Country Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year in 2012! It’s extremely hard to fit all of Hunter’s accomplishments into one paragraph, but even his music is something to write home about: his self-titled album climbed up to number one on the US Top Country Albums in 2011 while its lead single Wanted has sold an excess of 3.5 million copies. Now the young country star is back after just over a year with his third studio album I Want Crazy. Hopefully it lives up to the hype; it will mark the singer’s UK debut, which is an exciting career point for Hunter.
Opening track I Want Crazy is a great all rounder, there’s a decent mix of country and pop in there to make it commercially tasty. The boppy atmosphere is soon complimented by the ballad Invisible: we get to hear a more intimate quality to Hunter’s voice than before and we’re thankful for it. The country/pop fun returns with Tattoo, it definitely has this ‘boy band’ feel in its chorus and should win over his female fan base with his crooning trills. Single Light Me Up is pure pop madness, with its anthemic chorus and addictive melody, this is the track that will be stuck in your head. Now for the track that’s been all over radio, Wanted is this sweet and warming track that you wouldn’t mind hearing again and again.
You Think You Know Somebody has more of a deeper concept: Hunter goes through his rough time of finally seeing somebody close for what they really were, which was somebody who was completely transparent. As fun as the melody to Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me, it’s quite a sad song, but the track proves to be a great collaboration with Jason Mraz. Hunter hands out a reality check with What You Gonna Do, a subtly arranged track that questions what his love interest would do if he was to leave; Secret Love probably has the most intense vibe on the album, with its edgy guitar introduction and its dark and mysterious melody. Lastly, Somebody’s Heartbreak ends the album on a more lighter note and delves into Hayes’ country roots.
Hunter Hayes has done it again. I Want Crazy proves to be a successful pop/country crossover without him seeming to try too hard. The lyrics are genuine, the melodies are followable and often addictive, and the overall vibe of the album takes you to a brighter place. Hunter Hayes is warm, fun and more relatable than ever before on this record. Ten tracks was the perfect number to sum up the album: any more and it may have been too dragged out, each song had a purpose on I Want Crazy. Perhaps the only criticism could be that Hunter’s gone more pop than he ever has before, but is that a bad thing where he’s concerned? We’ll let the fans decide, but overall I Want Crazy is an impressive release.