I wasn’t sure where to place expectations with Ingrid Andress’ sophomore release. On one hand, I’ll forever champion “More Hearts Than Mine” as an excellent song and one of my favorite releases to country radio in several years. But between the awkward timing of her debut album’s release and given that it was a project that offered more glimpses of her potential than an outright showcase of it, I did have to question what would come next. And with further hindrances from follow-up singles not forwarding her momentum and the fact that she led off her newest project with a friggin’ Sam Hunt duet – a single that has grown on me, though, and one that I’m glad gave her a second wind, even if it weirdly enough almost didn’t make the cut for this album – again, I just didn’t know what to think.
Granted, while her pop-country style that typically leans into elements of lush, elegant baroque pop isn’t going to be for everyone, Good Person is actually a surprising rebound for her in nearly every regard. And I do still think she straddles the line between the two genres more effectively than other peers in her lane, even if there are still some issues in this regard. She’s never been an especially dynamic or unique singer, and it doesn’t help matters when her tone and flow defaults to “generic 2010s pop singer” on several occasions here. Nor does it help that this is pop-country somewhat too reliant on reverb over-saturation and more conventional willowy textures that can get a bit sleepy at points.
On the other hand, there’s two elements that really pull this through for me. For one, Andress has always had a terrific knack for great melodic hooks that can feel dynamic in their scope and power when playing off great tones and textures – like the grounded pedal steel anchoring “Yearbook” and the liquid warmth on “How Honest Do You Want Me to Be?.” It’s overall a little less lush than her debut, but she still has a run of really beautiful songs, from the emotional piano ballad in “No Choice” to especially the restrained, old-school lounge-esque “Blue” that’s just superbly striking.
Of course, all of that is dancing around the real reason I think this album hits its mark, and that’s in the lyrics and themes, where once again Andress has a great knack for emotional nuance that can feel deeply empathetic in its framing. Early on we have “Yearbook,” where she actually makes the high school framing work by sifting through old paragraphs of her parents – two people still together but no longer in love like they once were, which when observed by their own child really puts it into somber perspective. Really, the entire front half plays out like a great breakup album, from the aforementioned devastation of “No Choice” to the great hook in “Seeing Someone Else” that’s used to note how she’s matured and grown older while her partner hasn’t and they’ve drifted apart because of it.
At the very least, it’s more compelling than a second half that plays out like an opposite to the first one, where she finds love again … and where it can get a bit schmaltzy and tonally clunky, outside of “Blue.” I mean, “Pain” is overblown and overcooked as it is, but she’s not the sort of singer that can handle a belting ballad like that. It’s a project that, ironically enough, coming off the debut, can feel a bit bloated in its intentions and run short of momentum after a certain point, not helped by out-of-place tracks like the platitude-filled motivational title track or the scattershot “Things That Haven’t Happened Yet” near the end. But between a firmer handle on her sound and writing that’s overall more refined and the real unsung hero here – even if there isn’t a song here I like quite as much as “More Hearts Than Mine,” though “Yearbook” comes close – this is a solid winner. I’m really hoping for a rebound here.
- Favorite tracks: “Yearbook,” “Seeing Someone Else,” “How Honest Do You Want Me to Be?,” “No Choice,” “Blue,” “Wishful Drinking” (feat. Sam Hunt)
- Least favorite track: “Pain”