Bentley is the new “Black”

Julia Hettiger, Entertainment Editor

“Black,” a new album from country singer Dierks Bentley, is a raw, organic project from the seasoned artist that holds nothing back. Stepping away from traditional country-pop, the album uses acoustic music and black-and-white music videos that aid Bentley in singing through personal experiences.

Four of the songs on the album — “I’ll be the Moon,” “What the Hell Did I Say,” “Pick Up” and “Black” — all tie into the same storyline on the album. The music videos depict a couple who have a secret relationship, hiding it primarily from the girl’s boyfriend. The secretive couple mainly goes out at night, explaining why Bentley sings he’ll be the Moon.

The beginning of this four-chapter story tells the audience that the woman in the relationship is content with the situation, but the man wants something more. This feeling is escalated nicely by Bentley sitting in a car, singing in between scenes while it rains outside. In the end, the woman leaves and later on ignores the man’s call, leaving him angry when the screen fades and a bitter “To be continued…” appears.

In the second chapter, the man receives a message from the woman’s boyfriend, but thinks it’s from her. He spends the majority of this video trying to remember what he said, while Bentley throws down on both vocals and guitar. Meanwhile, the woman and the boyfriend get into a heated argument.

This prompts the third chapter, which has the secret boyfriend going to rescue the woman. The song in chapter three, “Pick Up,” was definitely one of the better ones on the album, being a more relatable song than some of the others.

The final chapter picks up right after it is revealed the woman has murdered her boyfriend. She and her secret lover flee to a hotel.  There they agree to get through it together, but the woman ends up leaving in the middle of the night, stealing the truck her secret boyfriend had rescued her in.

The music and beat match the story throughout, picking up during the more blissful moments, and slowing down during the sadder ones. While the music was good, the storyline seemed to be a bit too extreme for the songs themselves.

The rest of the album deviated heavily from these four songs.

The first taste of “Black” the country community had was “Somewhere on a Beach,” which debuted earlier this year. The song, which sounds like a sequel to Bentley’s earlier hit “Drunk on a Plane,” has Bentley singing wistfully about a man who’s on a beach somewhere, meeting other women and having a good time, while his ex is going crazy back home. The music video was a bit cuter than the vengeful-sounding song, telling the story of an awkward, chubby man who suffers from anxiety meeting a beautiful woman while on vacation and spending the rest of his trip with her—all while Bentley and his buddies cheer him on from a distance.

The rest of the songs on the album don’t yet have music videos, but it still didn’t stop Bentley from using his music to empower all of the emotions. While “Freedom” made you want to be young and dumb again, “Why do I feel” made you question why you’d ever want to fall in love. “Roses and a Time Machine” was definitely one of the more unique songs on the album. Drawing from traditional country roots, Bentley describes the inner thoughts of a man who’d give anything to have a redo with his ex-girlfriend.

“All the way to me” while good, sounds a lot like any other dreamy country-pop song, but has lyrics that really hit home.

Just like the title insinuates, “Mardi Gras” sounds like a party. The song, being the only really feel-good song on the album, is successful in getting you to want to dance.

“Light it Up” and “Can’t Be Replaced” top off the album with two ballads of unforgotten love and the need for a do over.

The most successful song on the album, however, had to be “It’s Different for Girls.” A duet with Elle King, Bentley uses his sultry voice and brave lyrics to talk about something not everyone wants to hear about. The lyrics, including “She don’t text her friends and say ‘I gotta get laid tonight,’” really drives the message of the song that says women suffer more during breakups, making this song almost sound like a song that’d been sung before country and pop collided.

Overall, this album was a great advancement for Bentley. While keeping his classic, carefree country voice and adding in a bit more heart, Bentley has released a great album yet again.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]