The First Time
Label: Black River Entertainment
One tweet from Taylor Swift complimenting Kelsea Ballerini's "Love Me Like You Mean It" was all it took to set the Knoxville songwriter's career in motion. Like Swift, Ballerini fills her debut with confessional-style songs -- mostly about boys. Heartbreak abounds on The First Time, but insightful lyrics and clever phrasing elevate songs such as "Peter Pan." Another highlight, "Secondhand Smoke," is a forthright look at her parent's divorce. But Ballerini finds her zone in fun and flirty songs like the quirky "Square Pegs" and the downright adorable "Dibs."