Kip Moore - Damn Love
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Damn Love (Universal, 2023)

Kip Moore

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

You may be confused by the opening title track of Kip Moore's fifth studio album. "Damn Love" is a soft techno ballad straight out of the Eighties from an artist that traditionally has gone for hard charging hits like "Beer Money" and "Somethin' Bout a Truck."

He has regaled his fans with tales of running off with an airport flight attendant, getting fired from Wal-Mart for smoking grass and a litany of other country vices including, drinking of course. But Moore is exploring the stages of love on this album, and we get a glimpse of his his more introspective and dare we say softer side with an assist from Ashley McBryde on "One Heartbeat "and some very glossy production on the light melodies that permeate the effort.

But fear not, he eventually downshifts into his rowdy wheelhouse with the unsubtle "Kinda Bar," which has a heavy dose of Telecaster and is so laden with cliches it could easily be considered a throwaway. He atones for it on the metaphorical closer "Mickey's Bar" effectively bookending the collection with one of its best tracks and one of its worst.

Moore is known for his genre bending, mostly classic rock. He tips his hat to Bob Seger on "The Guitar Slinger," which bears more than a passing resemblance to "Turn the "Page."

It feels like he set out to write about love and wound-up tackling mortality and humanity. The collection is less a narrative thread and in need of more cohesion, something tackling difficult topics requires.

CDs by Kip Moore

Wild World, 2020 Room To Spare: The Acoustic Sessions, 2018 Slowheart, 2017 Underground, 2016 Wild Ones, 2015 Up All Night, 2012

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