Review – Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It”

Kelsea Ballerini

As I’ve mentioned here in the early part of 2015, country music seems to be testing the waters on new artists. It’s good to see because country radio could use some new blood. There has also been a good bit of variety amongst these new artists from A Thousand Horses to Striking Matches to Mickey Guyton, there’s been a little bit of everything. Another new artist that is different from the rest I mentioned is Kelsea Ballerini. With country radio failing to put enough female artists on the airwaves, it’s even better to see new female artists. Ballerini has seemed to destined for music from an early age, writing her first song at 13, moving to Nashville at 15 and signing with Black River Entertainment at 19. She made her debut into country music late in 2014 with her first single “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which has been steadily climbing the charts.

Before I review this song I want to take a moment to remind everyone that female artists are just as capable of making bad music as male artists. People seem to want to give female artists a pass just because of the lack of female artists on country radio. Well I don’t do that. If I feel a song is good or bad, I will say it regardless of it being a male or female artist. So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this single from Ballerini. Right away you’ll notice this is a pop country song through and through. Well scratch that. Make it just a pop song (with a dash of R&B) because the country in this song is non-existent.

This leads me to the lyrics of this song and…just take a look at the opening lyrics of “Love Me Like You Mean It”:

“Oh hey
Boy with your hat back
Mmm I kinda like that
If you wanna walk my way
I’mma shoot you straight up
Show me what you are made of”

*face palm* Really? You know what these lyrics make me picture in my head? I imagine I’m in a bar and Chase Rice is sitting at the counter. Or Cole Swindell. Pick any bro-country artist you want. So they’re sitting there at the bar and Ballerini walks up to them uttering these lyrics. Then Rice flashes a douchey smirk at her and makes a condescending, sexist remark. Ballerini eats this up most likely. I’m sitting in the background rolling my eyes so hard they’re about to fall out. That’s the mental image I get when I hear these lyrics. This is not a good thing.

The rest of the song Ballerini pretty much contradicts this opening line, as she talks about immature boys and heartbreakers in her past relationships. Maybe you should stop dating bro idiots wearing hats? As for the chorus, I feel like it’s a slightly less annoying version of the chorus on RaeLynn’s “Better Do It.” She’s asking for guys to commit who can’t commit. These lyrics are confusing and quite frankly shallow in terms of depth. This is bubblegum pop meant to appeal to radio and casual listeners. In a world with common sense this is on pop radio. But we live in a world where pop music being passed off as country music is the norm.

I’m all for more women on country radio, but I’m sorry this just doesn’t cut it for me. This is hurting women more than anything. It’s another song where the male is put into a position of power and the woman is groveling for his attention. Ballerini has a nice voice and could maybe make some decent country music, but this does not cast her in a positive light in my eyes. At the moment this song is lingering around the 28-32 range on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and I don’t expect it to go much higher thankfully. I hope Ballerini’s next offering is better because “Love Me Like You Mean It” is just terrible.

Grade: 0/10

44 thoughts on “Review – Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It”

  1. Raymond February 28, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    All righty agree to disagree while I will say the pop/R&B influence with the R&B barely appearing. Like I said she’s the female Sam Hunt. Now before anybody calls me a hypocrite I am willing to admit I tend to be nicer to female artists I’m willing to admit it I Stand by it and that’s beside the point. With this out of the way I think this is more radio filter then downright terrible. I’ll say that I like her voice not quite Carrie Underwood but not as gratin as Miranda Lambert at times. Moving on the production yeah that is basically a pop song I think of Kelsea as the ultimate blend between Taylor Swift and Sam Hunt. I liked Taylor Swift I hate Sam Hunt. Moving on from that the lyrics yeah at times they’re a little confusing. For some reason when she goes into the Guys leaving girls in the rain I kinda like it I feel it shows something in her. But back to the lyrics pure filter. Last piece of the puzzle your comment about the situation. I think Kelsea would probably throw the drink back in their face more than anything. I think she’s saying she’s not taking any guys $h!t and she wants the guy to prove how much a gentlemen. Overall this song I’m gonna be generous and give her a 5.5/10. Not bad enough to hate it’s just there. Please tell me you guys aren’t gonna laugh at my comments it’s my opinion and I will stand by it.

    Thanks for the reviews but seriously imagine Kelsea hearing the sexist remark and then throwing the drink back at the guy I feel like that’s what she’s trying to depict.

    Please Respond.


    • NoahHibiscusEaton February 28, 2015 / 6:05 pm

      I gravely disagree with your opinion, Raymond……..but I’m certainly not going to condescendingly laugh it down and I certainly aren’t going to laugh in a scoffing fashion at them. =)

      While I don’t necessarily doubt your contention that she would hypothetically toss a drink in the subject’s face if he offered a sexist remark, we can’t conclude it either. What we CAN conclude is that the narrator is obviously quite immature and lacks self-awareness in the mixed messages she sends. She may have been in enough previous relationships to know what she does not want to experience and see again, yet views prospects by their appearance and physicality (wearing one’s hat backwards, in this case) than their personality at face value.

      In other words, the first part of her litmus test is if you’re wearing your hat back or not. For all we know, the most mature and mindful prospects that fit her list of requests in the song’s chorus are not wearing hats at all. Yet, she filters her search by who’s wearing a hat (let alone backward) or not, and that simply is NOT a good message to send to everyone, but especially young women.

      Given the tragic, unfortunate reality that, according to radio statistics, songs sung by female artists experience higher burn rates compared to their male-sung counterparts………….I strain thinking who this song is really for besides the youngest female demographic. Older female demographics are not going to gravitate to this, and all male demographics are not going to either. As remarkable as it is that this has managed to reach the Top Thirty, I’m quite confident this is going to hit a brick wall soon much like RaeLynn’s equally-as-bad “God Made Girls” did.

      All that said, no, I respect your opinions Raymond, and you sharing them ensures quality conversation! =)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raymond February 28, 2015 / 6:23 pm

        Thank you for replying. I think she’s more naive than immature more manipulated than self aware. I do hope this does well for her cause she can sing and that’s for sure at this point I’m desperate.

        I do respect your opinion as well you’re a better writer than I’ll ever be. Even if our pulses in mainstream are the complete opposites!


  2. NoahHibiscusEaton February 28, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    I see absolutely no redeeming quality in this release. I feel tempted to give this a 0/10 but, to be fair, this has such a sterile production scheme to the extent it is going to be subjected to a forgettable fate, so it’s not really worth hating THAT much. Still…

    I’m relieved you hit right on the head what I’ve already said before about the mixed messages in the first and second verses. She laments being used by losers in previous encounters, yet opens the song right off the bat exclaiming: “Oh hey, you with your hat back, mmm I kinda like that…”? No wonder she’s terrible at dating thus far.

    Aside from that, Ballerini’s bratty vocal delivery can’t help but get on my nerves in the same way Avril Lavigne’s delivery on her past several albums (I’m admittedly really harsh on Avril Lavigne’s output since her second album, if you couldn’t already tell! 😉 ) annoys me beyond comprehension. Like the way she inflects: “So if you’re like that……well take a step back!”

    No, 0/10 wouldn’t be a fair grade, come to think of it. That should be reserved only for songs that are not only terrible on paper, but terrible in a way they haunt your memory with memorable production and leech-like hooks. This has neither and is destined for the dustbin of obscurity in even a year’s time.

    But………….yeah, a 1/10 will do for this dumpster fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond February 28, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      Hey Noah! I agree on all except one her delivery I find it more strong and sassy than bratty. But yeah the lyrics aren’t good and the productions bland. I’ll say that she has a really strong voice if she can work stuff around with better writing and lyrics we could have a future star. For some reason she gives me nothing to hate it’s hard not to root for her at this point I’m desperate for a female act to bust out and stick.

      Love for you to reply.


      • NoahHibiscusEaton February 28, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        You see, ultimately the quality of the song is vastly more important than the sex and gender of that particular singer.

        You may feel inclined to give her a little more of a free pass because you’re desperate to see more females find representation on mainstream country airwaves, whereas I refuse to give a free pass to particular songs that are just as sub-par as lousy efforts from all the males of the genre.

        Besides, there are and have been plenty of female artists who have BOTH the smarts and pop-accessible touch. Why does it HAVE to be THIS? Granted we may have a longer ways to go before less mainstream-friendly women like Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, Caitlin Rose and Lindi Ortega make moves to the top reaches of the chart consistently, but why couldn’t it be Katie Armiger’s “One Night Between Friends” or “Better In A Black Dress”? Why couldn’t it be Kelleigh Bannen’s “You Are What You Love”? Why couldn’t it be Lucy Hale’s “Lie A Little Better”?

        All of those aforementioned songs are much better than this dumpster fire, and they also bolster radio-friendly hooks and production. There’s NO excuse any f those had to bomb as they did. And I refuse to reward worse-than-mediocre offerings just because the female crisis is real.


    • Raymond February 28, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Well fair enough I don’t like the song I’m not defending it. But I agree that there’s no excuse but like I said it’s not bottom of the barrel but it’s nothing special I stand by a 5.5 at the lowest I would go 5. I like the energy in her performance and her performance as a whole but I will agree everything else sucks. I myself tend to be a sucker for females and pop music this almost crosses the line but it’s not dumb junk like Taylor Swifts Red garbage.

      One Night Between Friends was mediocre at best Ok that got what it deserves

      Kelleigh Bannen I will admit deserved a hit. As did Lucy Hale. Kacey Musgraves should have a hit with her new song.

      My point is that no matter what it comes down to this fans you wanna know why those songs failed. No one requested them if you guys like the song enough request it online at Mediabase and the song could go up request the songs you like constantly once a day for multiple stations and the numbers go up.

      I’m not trying to sound harsh just trying to explain I hope this becomes a hit so we can see what else Kelsea has in store cause she has a lot of potential.

      Please Respond.


  3. Pete Marshall February 28, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    This song is not that great, but is sounds better than “sun daze” I would give this song 4/10. I hope she does better on her second release.
    Are you going to review Old Dominion’s new song? it’s an ok song.


    • NoahHibiscusEaton March 1, 2015 / 5:00 pm

      It’s not saying much, but I honestly prefer “Sun Daze” over this by a smidgen! 😉

      Honestly, I’ve never even viewed “Sun Daze” as among the very worst releases out there. The lyrics are lame and dumb-as-sand, but when you get around to the production, it’s actually not all that terrible. I don’t care how much my reputation is on the line saying the following, and it’s that it has a decent melody line as well as an enjoyable dobro solo. In fact, if the dobro continues to make a resurgence in corporate country music, you can bet “Sun Daze” will be looked back on as a turning point for its re-implementation into the format for better or worse.

      And secondly, there are both other songs on the charts, as well as Florida Georgia Line’s own catalog, that are lyrically worse than this. To my ears, it’s still a lame attempt at Xeroxing Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” for country airwaves, but nonetheless not quite as awful as “Good Good” or “Itz Just What We Do”. Really, just a stupid but ultimately harmless and pointless ditty about idling away on a Sunday doing juvenile things.

      I don’t care to hear either song again, but I consider Ballerini’s song the somewhat more insufferable of the two because it has absolutely no redeeming value. “Sun Daze” at least has the dobro solo and a strong enough melody in spite of its other shortcomings.


      As for Old Dominion, their sound is fairly respectable based on what I’ve heard of them thus far.

      But here’s what makes “Break Up With Him” insufferable to me: the lyrics endorse the idea of trying to steal a girl from another guy.

      I HATE songs that dwell on that topic. I’ll never understand why it’s such a big thing in popular music. All it does is make everyone look like assholes……………..with one notable exception……………..and that exception is IF the person that the narrator is trying to divert the subject from is obviously abusive and damaging toward that person. It is in those exceptional instances where it might be warranted if the narrator succeeds at persuading the listener why one’s feelings for the subject are more genuine and sincere than anything the abusive person could ever give the subject.

      But there are absolutely no signs this male the narrator is referring to in “Break Up With Him” is an abuser. And all it does is make the narrator look like an asshole for sticking his nose into a couple’s business, and the subject possibly look like a asshole too for approaching relationships so superficially.

      Which is a shame because Old Dominion have an interesting-enough sound going for them and I can easily see them break out with better material handed to them or written themselves. But I’m praying their breakout doesn’t come with that song.


      • Pete Marshall March 1, 2015 / 10:23 pm

        I listen to “love me Like You mean it” again. The second time I heard I would smash this song with a hammer or throw the song into a garbage pit. 0/10


  4. Zack February 28, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    This song is horrible in my opinion and one of the reasons I love Country Perspective is because somehow you guys always manage to say what’s on my mind. A badly produced pop track with cringe worthy lyrics. Geez if you truly want to play a female why does it have to be her or Raelynn? I’m not one to give free passes to females either, especially when the songs are this bad. Granted its one song, so I can’t truly judge her as an artist just yet, and unlike Raelynn, my ears don’t bleed when I hear her voice so maybe she can change my opinion but this is definently a miss

    Liked by 1 person

    • bob March 1, 2015 / 7:45 am

      I completely agree with this review – can’t relate to this song in any way. But I’m old enough to be this girl’s grandfather.


  5. ron12274 March 1, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    I feel like this is a case of if you can’t beat em join em. Since bro country is what the people want and more traditional female artists are struggling this type of song seems like the answer as bad as it may be.


    • NoahHibiscusEaton March 1, 2015 / 5:07 pm

      And, you see, this is precisely why I REFUSE to shrug my shoulders and say: “Y’know, the format desperately needs another female artist. Let’s just give this female here her due!”

      No, I’ll give anyone one’s due when they offer a good song or better. It doesn’t matter who you are: male or female, cis or trans, your faith, your skin color, etc. I care about the song above all else.

      Not to veer off into a political debate, but I do genuinely believe there was a time when affirmative action was necessary and important in previous times. In this instance, I do NOT believe affirmative action is the answer to resolving the female artist crisis. Otherwise, you’ll be rewarding more mediocrity like this debut single from Kelsea Ballerini and RaeLynn.


  6. Pete Marshall March 1, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    I bought both Taylor Swift and Brandy Clark new cd’s yesterday. Clark’s cd was great.


  7. Raymond April 23, 2015 / 10:42 am

    Come on Kelsea get that Top 10 despite it being pure pop it would be cool for another female artist to get to the Too 10 besides Miranda or Carrie cause Cassadee Pope was the last one to do it. I’m gonna make sure Kelsea is getting that Top 10 even Top 5 hopefully she will stick for females and give Miranda a running for female vocalist sooner than later.


  8. Raymond May 11, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    This song is oh so close to the Top 10 but there’s not exactly a clear path for this song Sangria is closing in fast so let’s see this week it’s landing at #11 pretty safe to say with Blake on the pass Kelsea will probably stay put as Dierks should go recurrent then. Then well maybe Tyler could fall off with Keith to help benefit Kelsea which could bring it up to #9 but then again who knows if Canaan LBT or Jason Aldean for that matter catch her within that time because they’re also pretty hot as well if Kelsea wants that Top 10 and to get into that Top 5 she’s gonna have to be in it for the long stretch. It will be interesting though.

    I just listened to her album ahead of time like Love Me Like You Mean It they do go in the pop direction in production but I will say that her voice does usually shine thru and the writing isn’t half bad.


  9. Raymond June 12, 2015 / 7:49 am

    Wow I cant believe that this song for a debut song has out-peaked for female artists well lets see

    Raelynn God Made Girls #16
    Kellie Pickler Red High Heels #14
    Kacey Musgraves Merry Go Round #10
    Cassadee Pope Wasting All These Tears #10
    Danielle Bradberry Heart Of Dixie #12
    Taylor Swift Tim McGraw #6 [let me guess Josh you hate this song as well]
    Maggie Rose I Aint Your Mama #29 [She actualy has some good songs worth checking out]
    Ashton Shepherd Takin Off This Pain #20
    Sunny Sweeney From A Table Away #10
    JaneDear Girls Wildflower #15

    Kelsea has actually also out peaked with her debut song these songs by female artists in general
    Reba I Keep On Loving You #7 If I Were A Boy #22 Somebodys Chelsea #45
    Martina McBride Teenage Daughters #17 Wrong Baby Wrong #11
    Taylor Swift Fifteen #7 [beautiful song btw] Fearless #10
    Ashton Shepherd Look It Up #19
    Jana Kramer Whiskey #27.
    Sara Evans Slow Me Down #17
    Miranda Lambert Something Bad #7 Little Red Wagon #16 All Kinds Of Kinds #15
    Maggie Rose Better #30 Looking Back Now #46

    If her follow up single which is rumored to be Dibs [btw I love that song] does well which it should cause radio would just eat it up and I can see it selling well she could be the female to stick. Also theres some pop but can someone please explain how she caters to the bro crowd. All she says is boy with your hat back. Then she shows herself to not take anyone who is gonna use her. I feel like she is attracted to the guy but knows that she doesn’t want him to use her. I am so excited to see how well Kelsea is gonna do in her future. But let me guess Josh you want these 2 things to happen to Kelsea

    1. Her to move to pop
    2. Her career in country to fizzle out get dropped by label and if she doesn’t move to pop you want her to stop making music.


    • Derek Hudgin June 12, 2015 / 8:53 am

      She caters to Bro country because her songs like “Looking at the Stars,” for instance, is basically a bro country song sang from the female perspective. “Yeah Boy” is basically the female version of bro country (if you change it to “yeah girl” and give it to Cole Swindell to sing, it’s bro country).

      And just for the sake of not wanting another one & done female, I’d like to see her get another hit, only with a decent song. I think “Dibs” is awful (to each his own, Raymond) and I don’t want to see that particular song succeed. I’d rather see “Peter Pan” “First Time” or “Secondhand Smoke” as a successful follow-up single because they’re actually more country oriented pop songs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raymond June 12, 2015 / 6:28 pm

        I like Dibs beside the awful spoken word-verse take away that and you have a decent pop-country song. You also have to keep in mind Derek that the songs you mentioned are ballads and that would kill a lot of momentum for Kelsea so Dibs or XO (real clever play on words) those songs would make logical choices you have to think of how those songs would fare on today radio climate. It’s a double edged sword and Black River has a star waiting in Kelsea that could go away if they release one of the songs you mentioned. Right now where this song is at this is showing Black River is gonna start putting it’s name out.

        Also Derek despite how much you might hate Kelsea brand of music how far she has made it on the charts from Black River of all labels she has star written all over her.

        Derek what did you think of some of the songs I have mentioned.


      • Derek Hudgin June 12, 2015 / 8:28 pm

        You mean, besides what I said in my review of the album? I disagree that “XO” has a clever play on words. Take Kacey Musgraves’ “Blowin’ Smoke.” There’s a double meaning in that phrase within the song: literally blowing smoke from her cigarette, or blowing smoke as in speaking empty words that you never intend to follow through with. Or Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl.” Crazy is used to describe the girl and it has a different meaning when they end the chorus with “I love you like crazy, girl.”

        However, in “XO” she only says it in reference to the man’s ex girlfriend (“ex oh”). And the use of “oh” at the end of the line adds nothing to the story, but simply there for the hook of the song, and so Kelsea can have a cute little title like “XO.” There’s no other way “ex oh” is expressed than in reference to the man’s ex. It has one meaning. Now if she had tied in some reference to Xs and Os like the hugs and kisses short hand, that’d be a different story.

        And yeah, Black River maybe has a pop star in their midst. I see how right now in radio that she’s likely to get airplay with a faster song than a ballad, you have a good point there. But I don’t think Kelsea has a good, fast paced song. She’s a pop star in my eyes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.


      • Raymond June 13, 2015 / 9:52 am

        Ok I still think she is pop-country but there is no fact she isn’t country and taste in music is subjective. I meant up-tempo like Dibs Yeah Boy XO or my personal favorite Sirens.


  10. Erik November 11, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Frankly, I have little to no tolerance for R&B I country music. It just doesn’t fit. When crap like this is played on the radio, I rush to change the channel. Why is this even tolerated? When it comes to incorporating a new sound, I got it; Waylon, Willie, Johnny, Hank Jr, Eddie, and the rest of the Outlaws pushed beyond the blurrier of traditional country and redefined a new sound. However, a lot of the sound and lyrics stuck with the genre. Today’s music barely even comes close. Where are the stories and heart&soul that we used to hear? When did the stereotype become completely rewritten from” My dog died, my wife left, my house burned, and I’m stuck in a bar” to ” Redneck dumb blonde in a truck by a creek by a river and a beer” or ” dumb doichebag dumped me, poor me.” Besides the point, R&B has no place. It just doesn’t fit. So why are these dumb songs given airtime??? Who listens to this and says ” hey, this sounds like something traditional country folk will like!” or ” I just do stuff care what the audience likes, I’m going to push this crap until people like it, or I ruin their career.”
    Wake up CMT….. Otherwise you are no better than MTV or VH1.


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