ALBUM REVIEW: Damn Love by Kip Moore

One of the most highly anticipated albums on my 2023 list has been Damn Love by Kip Moore. Well, the wait is now over, Kip has unleashed his 5th studio album, Damm Love, upon the world.

The album itself follows the release of the singles, “Damn Love” and “Kinda Bar”. Both songs showcase the diversity of Kip’s vocal talents. Whether he’s wrought with emotions or kicking up the party, Kip’s vocals are always there, plucking at one’s soul to feel or to let go and have a good time.

There’s a beauty within Kip’s vocals that I have always loved. Unlike his counterparts, there’s depth, grit, and a raspy roughness that echoes through his songs like the whispers of whiskey and smoke through a crowded bar.

That vocal magic can be heard elegantly on such songs like “Another Night in Knoxville”, “Heart on Fire”, and “Neon Blue”.

For Damn Love, all but one song, “Damn Love” were written by Kip with and without his writing cohorts. The song writing for Damn Love is exquisite and reminds me of a lot of the songwriting on Tom Petty’s Wildflower album. The song “Silver and Gold” has this wonderful Petty zing that is just brilliant.

“The Guitar Slinger” is another lyrically stand out track. It feels like it’s the sequel to “Guitar Man” from his 2017 album Slowheart

The perspective of “Guitar Man” is from a man playing small stages, just him, his guitar and amp, and pick up truck going through the motions of life on the road with nameless towns and women in his wake.

With “The Guitar Slinger”, the perspective hasn’t changed but the stages have. The lyrics indicate the man has moved to bigger stages and a bus, but he’s still going through the same motions of life on the road and despite this newer success, there’s still a sadness around him. Maybe it’s the realisation that music is a fulfilling creative outlet, but it doesn’t tell you good night as the moon settles into the sky. While often an equally dynamic duo, sometimes music is the master and the music creator is its submissive and “The Guitar Slinger” masterfully shows this relationship through its lyrics.

Musically, Damn Love is woven tight. There are moments within the music, like “Peace & Love” and the intro to “Damn Love” where I’m swept back to the sounds of the 80’s. The music is effervescent and energetic and then there are tracks like “Some Things” that have a marvellous haunting bass line that makes my soul tremble.

I would be negligent if I did not mention “One Heartbeat” featuring Ashley McBryde. Kip and Ashley make for a powerhouse vocal duo. They elevate the other’s already strong vocals even more and their voices compliment each other in a heartfelt way that is stunning.

Kip is known to close his albums with epic songs and Damn Love continues that tradition. Last but certainly not least is “Micky’s Bar”. The song showcases everything that is essential Kip Moore – heartfelt vocals and stellar songwriting. The bonus in “Micky’s Bar” is the wonderful story within song. Not only can one see it play out, one can feel it play out in their heart and that’s the beauty of Kip’s music. It never fails to hit the heart and soul.

Kip Moore has put a stamp on 2023 with his most reflective album to date. Not only is Damn Love a deeply introspective look at love, it’s a wonderful retrospective look at what defines the meaning of the four letter word.

MUST LISTEN TRACKS: “Damn Love”, “The Guitar Slinger”, “Silver and Gold”, “One Heartbeat”, “Some Things”, “Micky’s Bar”

FAVOURITE TRACKS: “One Heartbeat”, “Some Things”, “Silver and Gold”