Review: Kip Moore’s ‘Wild World’ Never Quits
Kip Moore's patience across the 13 songs on Wild World centers his most urgent album to date.
“Southpaw” is an example. A simple guitar loop lasts for nearly 30 seconds to introduce a track fans of Slowheart will very much admire. Lyrically, this Moore and Westin Davis-penned rocker is the stomping chest-beater fans have found on previous albums, and there are others that fall in line. The radio-ready "Red White Blue American Dream" and "Hey Old Lover" also rely on big chord changes and thin, but still satisfying, arrangements.
“Fire and Flame” finds Moore stretching emotions to the very end and then some. “I met the hunger and it took my hand,” he bellows after eight percussive seconds, snapping straight heads that might have started to gaze elsewhere. A U2-esque guitar lick and pulsing bass on one and three build toward something sure to be a speedy anthem, but it's not. The chorus provides some relief, but the smart arrangement maintains its grip until what seems to be the very end. That’s where Moore comes back with something of a coda that epitomizes what he does an artist. He never quits.
In a world where one good verse can win you a CMA Award, it’s almost too much at times to hear the songwriter and his team staying focused through a bridge and perhaps even an unexpected outro. Even the more commercial songs like "She's Mine" come with an energy that Moore sustains until the very last guitar fades. "Maybe she's in Dallas," he cries. Some may be inspired to hop in the car to find out.
Moore expects a lot from his studio musicians, and they in turn deliver beats, vibes, licks and riffs that elevate songs like “Sweet Virginia” from cute to beautiful. Quiet little guitar fills across the second half of Wild World put stars in the sky over a country album that’s probably best suited for a summer night. “Payin’ Hard,” the most personal song Moore says he’s ever written and recorded, is a moving lyric, but it’s not just what he says but how he says it. A classical guitar introduction (think "The Bull") ushers in the rapid storytelling that follows. He skips and jumps throughout this torment before delivering the most 2020 line imaginable:
"My life's a credit card / Play now, pay later and I'm paying hard."
Ironically, “Payin’ Hard” is the shortest song on Wild World, as if he was rushing to move past the discomfort brought about by vulnerability. It’s forgivable. There’s always been something about the country veteran's music that leaves one breathless. On this album, Moore is aware of it and very much uses it to his advantage.
WATCH: Kip Moore Talks About "Payin' Hard" and More
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