“Two Hands”: While this was the lead single of the project, “Two Hands” is less of a representation of the EP as a whole, but a bridge between Shorr’s last release and this one. This song embodies some of the poppier melodies that Shorr has relied on the last couple years, but with a little more rock influence. Lyrically, this is one of the strongest songs on the project. Clever rhyming schemes throughout the lyrics and into the chorus create an undeniably catchy pop-country song about celebrating love.
“Candy”: “Candy” is one of the many ‘themed’ songs on the EP. Something that Shorr does especially well is tying a situation in her life to something that doesn’t necessarily relate to that situation. She compares love and a man to candy in this song just like she compares light and motivation in a person’s life to stars in the sky in a later track, “Damn Sky.” Like the topic of the song, “Candy” is infectiously sweet and catchy.
“Backseat”: As for the sound of “Backseat”, this song sounds the most similar to what you could hear on country radio. “Backseat” has the honesty of a Miranda Lambert song with the edge of a Michelle Branch song. Shorr tells the true story of falling in love with music through dealing with the separation of her parents. This song may not please country traditionalists sonically, but no one can doubt that this song comes straight from the heart.
“Damn Sky”: Shorr kicked off her career with the empowering anthem “Fight Like A Girl,” and in some ways, that kind of song has become her brand. But she outdoes herself with “Damn Sky.” The song describes the moment of refusing to let other people run and determine your life and taking it into your own hands, as Shorr sings so eloquently with the lyric, “Somebody has to light the way so I learned to hang the stars in my own damn sky.” While “Fight Like A Girl” will always be a classic in Shorr’s repertoire, there’s something a little bit more special about “Damn Sky.” Shorr is making her own choices and creating her own life, and she doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks.
“Who What Where When Why”: On every Kalie Shorr record, there’s a sonic oddball, that despite sounding very much different from anything on the album, fits perfectly with everything else somehow. “Who What Where When Why” is that on Awake. Shorr takes down a cheater on this song, asking him questions, but quickly telling him that no matter what he says, he can’t fix anything. Sassy Shorr is a side that doesn’t come out enough, but she’s loud and proud on this song.
“Cool Kids”: “I got a checkered past to match my checkered vans / I used to give a shit, now I don’t give a damn” is the first line of “Cool Kids” and also the perfect line to describe Shorr’s new approach to music. Country music has become notorious for attempting to force artists into boxes, and push out anyone who doesn’t sound ‘country.’ Shorr’s had her fair share of trolls calling her music not country. “Cool Kids” is Shorr fighting back against the people who don’t think she fits into the box of country, because she’s decided that she’s just going to make music and not give a damn.
Best tracks: “Awake,” “Backseat,” “Damn Sky”
Throwaway tracks: none
Overall rating: 4 1/2 crowns