Kip Moore | Wild World | (MCA Nashville)
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Like clockwork, wisdom comes with age ─ each chapter as enlightening as the next. Kip Moore finds himself in the eye of the storm as he enters his 40s, a threshold marked with middle age ruminations on life, death, regret, and a renewed sense of purpose. He uncovers a tremendous amount of peace, as well, with the release of his fourth studio album. His trusty gravel-torn vocals in tow, Wild World arrives in the aftermath of 2015’s Wild Ones and 2017’s Slowheart, both records lauded for their richer emotional centers, and he reaches even deeper than many might expect.
Always one to buck trends, even with his radio-aimed hits like “Something ‘Bout a Truck” and “More Girls Like You,” Moore remains true to form but offers more astute songwriting. From “More Than Enough,” in which he cherishes even the small, mundane moments, to the title cut, a hand-me-down bit of advice (“Don’t put your faith in the green of a dollar / And be proud of the blue around your collar,” he observes), he shares an array of life lessons.
Predominantly self-produced, with help from Blair Daly, Luke Dick, and David Garcia on select tracks, the record strikes a balance between scruffy high-octane (“Southpaw,” “Grow on You,” “She’s Mine”) and honest-to-goodness singer/songwriter confessionals (“Fire and Flame,” “Sweet Virginia”). There’s a horse-drawn freedom by which he comes to accept the past, reprioritize the present, and long for a better future.
Wild World ─ dueling against dark and light, anger and joy, need and want ─ is at its core redemptive. He confronts his mistakes, shouts down his demons, and straps in for the rest of life’s unexpected thrill ride. “So long my friends, I guess this is my farewell / Damn all these pennies swimming in my wishing well / Told every single story that I had to tell,” he confides with closer “Payin’ Hard,” the set’s evocative exclamation point. “I’ll live with that / Sleep with that / Make my peace / And I’ll die with that.”
Regardless of what has come before, Kip Moore accepts that whatever will be will be. Days might pass with longer, more weary shadows, but that doesn’t mean the sun can’t still shine bright as ever. Wild World is his manifesto, dropping in a time when we need all the hope we can get.
We spoke with Kip about the tune “Southpaw,” check out what he said about the song.