Kip Moore's new album, Wild World, out Friday (May 29), is about two-thirds love songs, but not the syrupy-sweet, over-the-top-romantic sort. The singer's style is more rugged and real than rosy.
All of Moore's songs are full of flawed, curious characters (see: the reflective "Fire and Flame"), some of whom are still finding their way in the world (for example, in Wild World's title track). His new album's final track, "Payin' Hard," is almost uncomfortably personal, in fact, though it sits among a batch of songs that Moore says are "100 percent" his bravest and most personal.
"I tend to be a lot more honest in music than I am in my real life ... I'm a lot more closed off in the real world, but I'm a lot more open to the ways I actually feel in music," Moore tells The Boot, admitting that when he writes a love song (or any song, really), he approaches it honestly. "I'm not trying to paint myself as some perfect person," the singer says.
The midsection of Wild World offers a particularly good look at Moore's vacillating feelings in love: "She's Mine," the album's first single, features daydreamy lyrics over a melody that's loads of fun, while the next two tracks, "Hey Old Lover" and "Grow on You," are especially confident. What follows, "More Than Enough," though, is boldly vulnerable.
"I feel like, too often times, you hear love songs [that make the relationship and the people in it sound perfect]. I don't feel that way about myself," Moore reflects. "I do feel confident enough sometimes where you might not be into [me] now, but I'm gonna make you change your mind."
Below, get a listen to five of our favorite romantic, but tough, moments on Wild World.
The titular Janie bookends Wild World, and is one of two women Moore mentions by name -- or, at least, by a pseudonym -- on the album (the other being Virginia in Track No. 10, "Sweet Virginia). Written by Moore and Dan Couch, "Janie Blu" finds Moore at the end of the line in his relationship with Janie: He's tried to stay and offer support and love, but she "lean[s] on sweet addictions" and "keep[s] runnin' / From the one thing that's been true."
"I’ve held you through the darkness," Moore sings in the bridge, "but, girl, I must confess / Right now I’m barely hangin' on / Like the cross around your neck."
With "Hey Old Lover," Moore and co-writer Couch deliver a perfectly on-brand booty call. A steady drum beat and hand claps, and a guitar-focused bridge, help create a classic Moore sound for the upbeat (and, dare we say, fairly persuasive) track.
"Hey, old lover, won't you come on over? / Heard you're in between boyfriends from your mother / I always thought we'd end up together," Moore sings in the chorus. "Baby girl, right now, nothin' sounds better than to / Lay around with someone I don't have to play pretend with / Someone who already knows just what she's gettin' ..."
"Grow on You" is a little bit cocky, but also sweet: "Like ivy up a hickory / Down in muddy Mississippi / I'm puttin' down roots / and I'mma gonna grow on you," Moore declares to the object of his affections, who's apparently not quite yet sold on him. A grooving guitar and shouts of "Yeah, baby!" help create a track that feels right in line with what Moore did on 2017's Slowheart.
Directly after "Grow on You" comes "More Than Enough," creating an attention-grabbing transition. This Moore, David Garcia and Josh Miller-penned song is as tender as its predecessor is full of bravado, with Moore professing love for better or worse, richer or poorer "in a world that says you need a lot of stuff."
"If Uncle Sam goes and steals my money / I’m good with a spoonful of your sweet honey / And I’ll be sittin’ pretty and rich on love, love, love," goes the chorus. "If the rain won’t stop and the sun don’t shine / Hit a tough spot, baby, we’ll be fine / You in my arms is all I need / Just a little bit of your love / Is more than enough for me."
Moore wrote "South" with a larger-than-usual group of co-writers: Adam Browder, Dan Couch, Manny Medina, Dave Nassie and Erich Wigdahl. There's an '80s vibe to track, in which the singer promises to a love who's no longer interested, "My love will still be hangin' around / When the birds fly South." The end-of-summer imagery evokes another Slowheart track, "Sunburn," also about a lost summertime romance.
Percussive bass and guitar drive "South," which ends with a minute-plus outro. Moore tells The Boot there's "a lot of movement" created by the instruments on Wild World as a whole.