Hunter Hayes (Encore) by Hunter Hayes

By now, you’ve likely grasped the concept of Encore, which basically boils down to a re-release of Hunter’s self-titled debut album (with some reworkings) along with new material.

“I Want Crazy,” the current single, is the standout track, as it shows a slightly different side to the innocent-looking Hunter. When he declares, I don’t want easy, I want crazy, he actually makes you believe it.

“More Than I Should” crunches the guitars, while “Light Me Up” kicks off with a nifty drum and B-3 intro, deftly weaving its way into an uplifting chorus. “Better Than This,” however, is the lone newbie that comes up a little short, with a pedestrian philosophy of life that seems lifted from self-help books.

The finest redo, on the other hand, comes with “What You Gonna Do,” which now serves as a duet with Ashley Monroe, a decision that pays off perfectly.

What’s most striking overall is the instrumentation along with the overall sonic feel of the album. Drums are prominent, giving the songs a fuller sound, and Hunter’s virtuosity on both acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and other instruments is tastefully dispersed throughout. 

AT A GLANCE:

Fans may have hoped for a brand-new album, but Encore should suffice for now.  

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