Country music is a specific genre that associates closely with pop. However, Michael Hardy has decided to remind people that there are other options for collaboration.
In his latest album, The Mockingbird and THE CROW, Hardy creates a blended mix of his two favorite genres. The first half of the album focuses on country, the second half on rock and one song in the middle depicts the shift in genre.
Hardy is a popular singer and well-known songwriter in the country industry. He has written famous songs for artists such as Thomas Rhett, Morgan Wallen, and Blake Shelton.
Many artists and board members consider Hardy to be a lyrical genius. His ability to write songs, tell stories and convey emotion are incredible.
On January 20th, Hardy put out his country rock album which has experienced assorted reviews. Despite the differing opinions, the album has been met with positivity and high acceptance.
With existing singles such as “wait in the truck” and “here lies country music”, anyone could have predicted this remarkable album. The release hit Billboard #1 in many categories such as Top Country Albums, Top Rock Albums, and Top Album Sales.
Whether this album fits the taste of listeners or not, it is worth recognizing as a stunning piece of work. Hardy calls to his roots and gives his audience an hour of entertainment. There are 17 songs arranged to be a balanced 50/50 album.
Part of the beauty of this album is the references and inclusion of songs from the past.
For example, “drink one for me” is from the perspective of a fallen friend who Hardy writes about in “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” which was released in 2020. Crafting a piece of heartbreak and reassurance is a perfect way of combining two strong feelings.
One of the more popular songs is a collaboration with Morgan Wallen entitled “red”. Fans adore the friendship of the artists while appreciating the lack of Hollywood influence. Writing about dirt roads, bonfires, and Friday night football games demonstrates the grace of simplicity and small-town life.
In a society of cell phones and cameras, it’s easy to watch days pass through screens rather than our own eyes. Hardy writes “screen” to emphasize this point.
He writes, “Every battery does but your memory will never die” in hopes of persuading his fans to appreciate being present on a daily basis.
In the other half of the album, Hardy works to create a screamo effect in many of his songs. “0.30-06” includes slight angst and punk characteristics while remaining versatile.
Writing an angry song about a breakup during hunting season is not a common topic yet Hardy does it well.
“JACK” touches on the topic of alcoholism by writing a song from the perspective of whiskey. Hardy writes, “I’s a friend of your dad’s when he had no one else/I’ll put the party in your life boy you know I can”.
Writing from the viewpoint of an inanimate object with more power than actual people is complicated yet proven to be a success.
Overall, The Mockingbird and THE CROW is an all-around unique album. Some songs received better reviews than others, yet no one dares to discredit the effort and talent required to put the album together.
Hardy, as a person, is unpredictable, creative, and willing to think outside of the box. This album acts as a mirror for his fanbase to witness. Putting himself in every song gives the album more strength.
`It’s hard to tell how loved the entirety of the album will be in a few weeks. However, the lyrics and flexibility definitely raise the reviews. Hardy is and will be touring for most of 2023 so there is no doubt that his fans will follow.
Personally, this piece ranks as a 7.5/10 when put together. I believe The Mockingbird side is a 9 out of 10 and THE CROW portion is a 6 out of 10. Overall, I was impressed and will add these songs to my library.
Is the album perfect? No. Is it audacious? Yes. But is it worth listening to? Absolutely.
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