Even though I love how bold Ballerini has been and I do think she has been a pivotal artist in the fight to get women back on country radio, there remains a sense of unfairness in her success in country music. She's obviously talented and has worked hard to get everything she has, so this is not her fault. But country music has become a world in which pop artists, like Ballerini is (whether she admits it or not), get the airplay on country radio.
And because of that, real country gets lost in the shadows. Artists like Miranda Lambert, with "Tin Man," or Ashley Monroe, or Margo Price don't get any airplay. These are the artists working to uphold the traditions of country music. There is room for pop country in country music and there is room for tradition. But on country radio? There is no room for tradition.
Ballerini is in a difficult position. Country music has been welcoming to her, but the fact that radio has welcomed her with such open arms has been consequently detrimental to the careers of traditional country artists. It's not her fault, but she really should pull a Taylor Swift and realize that the music she's making just isn't country.
The album is going to be good. Ballerini's writing has improved, and it's a mature pop record for someone of her age. But it doesn't belong in country music, and even when she throws in a couple banjos, anyone with ears can hear that it isn't country music, and that's not fair to the legacy and tradition of the genre.