Known in many country circles as the most underrated artist in the genre, Kip Moore has established himself as one of country’s premier songwriters and acts.
Starting off his career with the smash hit, Somethin’ Bout a Truck, Moore experienced mainstream success right out of the gate. In the years following, however, he has seen a bit of a downtick in popularity, especially in the mainstream. With all this being said, Moore’s talent severely outweighs his chart success and sales.
Today, I’ll be ranking all five of his studio albums.
5. Damn Love
Moore’s latest album, Damn Love, is his weakest record to date for me. I respect the change of pace and sound here; I really do. That being said, however, it doesn’t quite work for me. It’s clear that he was going for an 80s synth-rock feel here on Damn Love, with tracks such as Silver and Gold, Peace & Love and the title track leaning heavily into that style.
I personally really enjoy those tracks on their own. However, when they are paired with soulful tracks like Sometimes She Stays and The Guitar Slinger, the album begins to feel a bit dissonant musically. Coming off of the back of two incredibly constructed albums, Slowheart and Wild World, Damn Love simply does not have the same impact as an entire body of work.
Standout Track: Sometimes She Stays
4. Wild Ones
Wild Ones is a solid sophomore outing from Moore. It carries over the same sound present on Up All Night and doesn’t do much to separate itself overall. It feels very similar to both Miranda Lambert and Eric Church‘s sophomore albums, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Sinners Like Me, given that both contain a similar southern rock-inspired country sound while not venturing into incredibly unfamiliar territory.
That being said, it’s still an incredibly solid, pleasing album. Moore really leans into the “wild ones” mantra here. Whether it’s tracks like Come and Get It, What I Do or the standout, Burn the Whole World Down, he packed the album with some romping, high-energy tracks that are sure to get the heart rate up.
I do wish that there were a few more emotional moments present on the track, however. Comeback Kid and the final single, Running For You, deliver a nice break from the high-energy nature of the record, but I wish there were a few more tracks like them present on Wild Ones.
Standout Track: Burn the Whole World Down
3. Up All Night
Up All Night is one of those albums that has so many underrated deep cuts it’s hard to point out where the album peaks. Moore’s debut album gets a bit of a bad rap with some given that it contains Somethin’ Bout a Truck, a song that very well may be his worst song. That being said, it’s packed full of tracks that make Moore the underrated artist he is.
Deep cuts like Drive Me Crazy, Everything But You and fan-favorite, Crazy One More Time, are all incredible, nostalgic tracks that serve as great examples of Moore being an underrated songwriter. He packs these songs full of imagery and specific details that make you feel like you’re the one experiencing these nostalgic reminisces back on a lost love. He also does an excellent job making these tracks equally as longing as they are hopeful.
Up All Night sets up a lot of themes that will be explored in later albums such as his recklessness, his wandering spirit and most importantly his soulful nature. While it’s not a perfect album, Up All Night is a solid debut album that previewed what was to come from the Hey Pretty Girl singer.
Standout Track: Crazy One More Time
Slowheart just barely missed the top spot, sitting at a very definitive #2. I went back and forth between the two (the order honestly changes depending on the day), but I landed on Wild World. Ultimately, Slowheart is another gem of an album from Moore.
It’s a record that is jam-packed with great tracks that simultaneously feel both fresh and true to the sound that Moore had established with his previous two albums. Tracks like I’ve Been Around and Fast Woman have a very strong Wild Ones vibe, having a wild edge to them. Plead the Fifth and Bittersweet Company sound closer to Up All Night, filled with some great electric guitar work throughout.
The Bull and Sunburn are also fun tracks that feel a bit different than the rest of his discography with The Bull especially sounding quite fresh.
Overall, Slowheart is a fantastic, balanced entry from Moore that truly does not have a bad song on it. Every track sounds great on its own. The only reason why it’s below Wild World is because it’s slightly weaker thematically as a whole.
Standout Track: Guitar Man
1. Wild World
Just edging out Slowheart is Moore’s 2020 release, Wild World. This record is Moore at his most soulful and introspective, and it works incredibly well. It’s an album focused primarily on longing and self-reflection that truly feels like a commutation of everything that makes Kip Moore so successful as an artist.
There are some gorgeous, soulful tracks such as Janie Blu and Sweet Virginia, some introspective tracks like Fire And Flame and Payin’ Hard and finally some classic, rambling songs like Southpaw and South.
You can definitely feel Moore’s age and maturity in this record especially when compared to his debut album, Up All Night. The album feels like Moore has lived, learned and grown a lot as an artist and person. While there are still hints of that rambling, reckless guy on the aforementioned tracks, a majority of Wild World feels like Moore figuring himself out as an artist, lover and man.
The duality of his wanting to be a passionate lover and while also wanting to be a musician out on the road is explored at lengths on this record. The decision to start the album with the longing Janie Blu and finish it with the regretful, self-critical Payin’ Hard is simply brilliant.
Standout Track: Janie Blu