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Kelsea Ballerini 'Rolling Up the Welcome Mat' EP Review

Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini surprised fans with the announcement of her EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat which dropped at midnight on Valentine's Day. The 6-song project was accompanied by a short film that was written and directed by Ballerini herself. On social media, the country star shared a heartfelt message about the release stating, "I've never been this open, I've never been this bold, and I've never been this proud of my art."

Broken up into chapters, each song holding its own spot in the narrative, Ballerini has crafted a detailed, picturesque storybook filled with vivid, painful honesty. It opens with "Mountain With A View" which starts with stark, buzzy chords before Ballerini chimes in, "It's 7 a.m. and I'm on a mountain with a view / I'm the only one alone, at a table meant for two." Within the track's lyricism, Ballerini details the loneliness she felt in her previous relationship; her affliction throbs in each line, especially the last lines in the chorus: "I think you loved me much more at 23 / I think that this is when it's over for me." The straightforward punch seems to act as a response to Ballerini's ex, Morgan Evans, recent release "Over For You."

"Just Married" has a hell of a hook. The title is a play on the phrase overly used when someone gets hitched. Ballerini takes listeners on a journey to the excitement of being "Just Married" to then stating at the end of the track, "Yeah it was love, it really was, then it was just married." What stands out here specifically is the production. With dainty acoustic guitars and subtle strings, Ballerini combines the minimalism of country music and whisks it with dreamy, pop elements such as synth-soaked, layered vocals.