Single Review: Kelsea Ballerini, “Yeah Boy”

“Yeah Boy”
Kelsea Ballerini

Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Keesi Timmer, and Forest Glen Whitehead

Nah, girl.

“Yeah Boy” is the purported internal monologue of every “Girl in a Country Song,” if they were truly as vapid and two-dimensional as the country bros would have us believe.

Even Taylor Swift, who is notorious for centering how males perceive her above everything else, at least demonstrates critical thinking skills and isn’t as remarkably passive toward whatever actions those males might take. There isn’t a moment in “Yeah Boy”- not a single moment – in which Ballerini isn’t waiting on the guy to decide what they’re going to do, even though the lyrics indicate her assumption that she wants to do what he wants to do anyway.

It all sounds like a teenage courting ritual from a 1950s Archie comic.

Grade: D



  1. I heard this song on the radio just yesterday; and yes, I think the first two words of your review say it all, Kevin. After showing some moderate promise with “Peter Pan”, KB’s fallen back into that hammy twang she employed on “Dibs” (IMHO).

  2. I can’t understand why the powers that be decided this would make a solid 4th single…
    With a lot more songs out there in the top 30 that don’t totally suck, I feel like it would have made more sense to release Stilettos or even–if they were feeling really brave–Secondhand Smoke. It’s worked for some (Tim McGraw, ) but also failed for others (David Nail). But if none of these 3rd (and 2nd) tier artists keep trying, all we’re ever going to be left with is a select few trying to push through the rest of the “cannon fodder bullshit”.

  3. And this is the biggest reason that I can’t really get as het up about the gender imbalance on country radio as a lot of people do, or celebrate Kelsea Ballerini having success at radio with vapid crap like this. What good is having more females on the radio if their music is just as bad as the bros’, even if it’s just a different kind of bad? I mean, I know it’s probably too much to hope for to hear the likes of Heather Myles or Amber Digby on mainstream country radio, but why Kelsea Ballerini instead of Maddie and Tae?

  4. Taylor Swift may write circles around a song like ‘Yeah Boy,’ but she wasn’t shy about her admiration for this song last year. Swift was even was gunning for it to be a single as it was/is her favorite song on the album.

    I can only guess if those feelings are genuine. I have no idea if she’s purposefully trying to sabatage country radio or she really does in fact love the song.

    I truly want to like KB, as I enjoyed her hosting GH this past summer on ABC. But I can’t get behind her uptempo output.

    Out of curiosity, did anyone catch her performance of ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ on the ACM Honors TV special last month? I didn’t think it was as horrid as when TS sang ‘I’m Sorry,’ but I did get flashbacks. At least KB tackled a song that wasn’t totally out of reach.
    Along the same lines, how about her Opry performance of ‘Ghost In This House?’

  5. Can’t get into KB’s music at all. It galls me that such a lightweight gets all this attention – single and album reviews, etc. – and a truly talented young artist (imho) like Kree Harrison gets practically no coverage.

  6. I really don’t understand why radio has focused on the only modestly talented Ballerini as the next big female star. There are many female artists out there, both young and somewhat older, who have more talent. If you expand the field to include bluegrass artists such as Kristi Cox and Lizzie Long, Ballerini comes off as a totally vapid waste of time.

  7. …anybody, who’s not a 13 year old female teenager with a huge crush on some boy, may not be too impressed with this tune. then again, anybody who is, may hear it differently. whichever – eventually it reminds one how great thou were ms. swift for the generation before.

  8. I think Kevin’s review makes a good point regarding the gender issues at play here…and I think it really exemplifies why Kelsea Ballerini has been the chosen female to get the token airplay spot that Taylor Swift left behind. Kelsea Ballerini is not a threatening female singer, in the same way that Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, or even Miranda Lambert is (I could see her losing her spot on radio in the very near future). Heck, I think even Swift irritated the radio execs on occasion, with songs such as “Mean”, that may have appeared “too angry and incisive”. I think the record labels pushed Ballerini b/c she’s viewed as attractive, writes catchy, bubble-gum type songs that appeal to the younger folks, and fits right along next to LoCASH and Tucker Bethard. She’s not going to re-invent the wheel with her music, and I don’t see her recording anything that goes against the grain of what’s popular at the time, let alone criticizing the environment of the country music industry. Unfortunately, I think this is the type of female star that country radio execs want…which makes a song like “Yeah Boy”, with the undertones that Kevin mentioned, sound even worse.

    And, while this may seem like a diatribe against Kelsea Ballerini…keep in mind, I do think she does legitimately have some talent. It’s easy to go the route of getting angry over who is not getting airplay on radio, and I agree with a lot of the names mentioned that aren’t. But, I think songs like “Secondhand Smoke”, “Peter Pan”, and “The First Time” (which I think she was sole writer of) prove that she does have some potential to be a decent artist. It’s just a shame to see it wasted recording pap like “Yeah Boy.”

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