The EP kicks off with the title track, "Calm Before The Storm" previously released as a single towards the lead up to the EP release. Starting with acoustic guitar, this track slowly brews into a angry country pop/rock anthem. But the second verse brings a surprise: Sarah Ross rapping. This is the first introduction to Ross's unique artistry for new listeners. Although this style could take many listeners aback the first listen, it does grow on you, and many fans will grow to love the uniqueness of Ross's music. As a first listen and introduction to the EP, this track is brilliant.
In addition to the title track being released on iTunes, "You're No Good" and "Shotgun" were premiered before the EP release, on iTunes and YouTube respectively. The former track is a reworked cover of the Linda Ronstadt hit. A highlight of the record, this is one track that perfectly shows Ross's style. She seamlessly transitions from the singing to the rapping, in a way that many seasoned artists cannot do. The latter track is a darker number, one that could be at home on a horror movie soundtrack, or on an episode of Pretty Little Liars or Criminal Minds. In the vein of "Two Black Cadillacs," Ross tells the story of wanting to shoot her ex for cheating on her. A bit extreme, but surprisingly common for women in country music. This is the most heavily rapped song on the EP, with only sung parts at the choruses. Out of the whole EP, this is definitely the most pop influenced, and one that could be popular with the pop-rap crowd.
Like all records, there are also the typical songs that would do well on radio. The song "All About That" is one like that. A female version of a bro-country track, Ross goes the radio friendly route. She does not rap on this song, as she loses a bit of her signature sound, by not quite inserting enough personality into this quite generic song. "Lovin' This Beat" is another song like that, but this song is better. The lyrics are superior, and her vocals mimic the style of Clare Dunn on her most recent single "Move On." The production, however, mimics some tracks on Kelsea Ballerini's record, explained by the common cowriter between this song and that album, Josh Kerr. Ross doesn't full out rap in this track either, but does a bit in the bridge and succeeds on making this song belong to her more than the aforementioned track.
Sarah Ross is, as mentioned many times before, completely unique. She molds a modern form of country, one that is hers. Traditionalists will criticize her, accuse her for not being country enough. But whether she is truly country or not, she is incredibly talented, and has her own thing going on. She will have supporters, and haters, but there is no doubt: Sarah Ross is going to be a superstar.
Best tracks: You're No Good, Happy Hour, Lovin' This Beat
Throwaway tracks: All About That
Overall rating: 4 and a half crowns