Sentimentality became Lee Brice's calling card right around the time "Hard to Love" and "I Drive Your Truck" became back-to-back number one hits in 2012. Nearly a decade later, Brice still can favor a power ballad, but 2020's Hey World finds the country singer lightening up and revving up the amps, all in an attempt to loosen up a bit. In terms of sheer musical variety, Hey World trumps all of his previous albums. He dabbles in old-fashioned soul grooves and pump-up arena rock, tries on a few modern R&B rhythm tracks for fun, and essays a couple of glassy easy listening country-pop tunes that feel like they could slide onto cross-genre play lists. Amiable singer that he is, Brice sounds comfortable in all these settings, save for the defensive "If You" and rather desperate party tune "More Beer." As he navigates the pounding riffs and kegs, Brice sounds a bit long in the tooth, but elsewhere on Hey World he wears his impending middle age quite well, proving that even if he's changing his fashions, what looks best on him is something with a little heart.
Hey World Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine