Kane Brown ‘Experiment’s with genre conventions

 Kane Brown released his new album Nov. 9. It is mix of country and pop and demonstrates Brown’s range in tone and style. (screenshot/@kanebrown_music Instagram)

Kane Brown released his new album Nov. 9. It is mix of country and pop and demonstrates Brown’s range in tone and style. (screenshot/@kanebrown_music Instagram)

Though you might not know Kane Brown yet, the singer’s name is climbing the charts. And if you aren’t a fan of country music, his new album “Experiment” might just get you to like the often quickly-dismissed genre. “Experiment” (released Nov. 9) is a mix of country and pop and demonstrates Brown’s range in tone and style.

Known for his songs “Heaven,” “What Ifs” (with Lauren Alaina), and the catchy single “Lose It” from “Experiment,” Brown is a unique country singer.

“His story, and his willingness to throw any sound into his mix, makes the tattooed, biracial Brown an ideal male country star for this moment,” said Maura Johnston, who reviewed Brown’s album for Rolling Stone.

With an authentic voice and a sort of “bad-boy” vibe, Brown’s original music is sure to shine out. In fact, “Experiment” had the record-high number of first-day streams on Apple Music for a country album in the U.S., according to a tweet on Brown’s Twitter.

“Experiment” is an album with a mix of subject matter, but one of the grounding themes is that of nourishing a real, lasting romantic relationship. One of the sweetest songs on the album, “Good as You,” is the singer’s pledge to his romantic partner; he claims he will love and support her just as much as she loves and supports him. The title of the song means that Brown will work to become just as good as his significant other at cherishing her and their relationship. The song is romantic and cheerful.

“Tomorrow, tonight, the rest of my life/ I wanna be the man you want me to be/ So starting right now, girl/ Tell me everything you need,” Brown sings. The music video for this song is also sweet—it features Brown’s recent wedding.

Although it does not immediately follow “Good as You,” “Work” fits in nicely with the theme of loyalty and trust in a relationship. This track is more reflective and toned-down, as it discusses potential problems in a relationship. While the song is more serious, it does end on a hopeful note with Brown promising that, “If it’s love, we both know what it’s gonna take/ Work, yeah we can make it work.”

Also playing into this theme of lasting relationships are “One Night Only” and “Live Forever.” In the former, Brown sings about wanting more than a one-night stand. He contrasts homey imagery, like pouring morning coffee, with images like buying someone another of whatever they’re drinking to show how he’d rather create a meaningful, long-term connection. Similarly, “Live Forever” is about wanting to live with someone forever because they make you so happy.

While “Experiment” does feature some light, pleasant songs, Brown also goes dark: “American Bad Dream” talks about school shootings. In the song, Brown contrasts a more carefree ninth- grade experience (one centered on “getting laid” and “skipping class trying not to get caught”) with the modern one of being “scared to death that you might get shot.” The song is melancholy and resentful that this is the way things are. The singer questions if this isn’t truly a bad dream that one can just wake up from.

With its mix of tones and styles, “Experiment” shows off all that Brown can do. It has catchy radio hits, smooth, romantic tracks and deeper, more reflective songs. “Experiment” is an interesting mix in the broader genre of country, and I’d say that Brown has solidified his place as an original, compelling voice in the genre.

Rating: 4.5/5


Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.santillo@uconn.edu.