“Hole in the Bottle”
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey, and Steph Jones
I realize I just said in my recent Runaway June review that country radio doesn’t need another mindless drinking song right now, but there’s still room for a fun one.
That’s the difference, really – artists aware of country music clichés and its inherent corniness and choosing to lean into that rather than just … vapid stupidity for the sake of. And I’ll gladly take Kelsea Ballerini’s “Hole in the Bottle” over her poor attempt at recreating “Does He Love You” on her last single “The Other Girl.”
Granted, Ballerini’s younger perspective has caused some to cast her writing off as immature, but I’ve found she’s grown with her music over time. With that said, even I didn’t expect a Ballerini single to include an infomercial (which, unlike its other elements, is a dumb, pointless choice) and a Brad Paisley-esque slide guitar accompaniment. The mix of real drums and drum machines means that, once again, we have a mainstream country single that can’t nail consistency with its percussive elements, and though it’s trying hard for a groove, it’s clunky, instead.
Still, the overall mix is certainly bright and carries the intended energy. It’s still an odd fit for Ballerini overall, but she’s got the charisma needed to make the joke of the hook work, where she’s aware she’s not actually over an old flame but isn’t going to let that get her down, either. I must admit it took time for this to grow on me, especially when it comes out nowhere on Ballerini’s kelsea album, but it’s the right kind of clever summer jam.