Album Review: Maddie & Tae’s “Start Here” (Stream Now!)

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Maddie & Tae‘s debut full-length album is titled Start Here, but the fact is, the girls’ journey began long ago, and this offering is not a starting point, but a beautiful continuation of an already stellar country music career. What fans likely expect from Maddie & Tae, based on prior releases, is seamless harmonies, complex instrumentation, snarky and clever lyrics, and deep and thoughtful messages. What fans will actually get from Start Here is their expectations met and surpassed.

In a day and age when new artists are emerging with styles that are changing the direction of country music, Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye are embracing the traditional sound that founded the genre, while incorporating lyrics that resonate with today’s listeners. Made evident by tracks like “Waitin’ on a Plane,” “Your Side of Town,” “Right Here, Right Now,” and “No Place Like You,” the dynamic and already decorated duo are remaining true to its youth while demonstrating an innate appreciation for the roots of country music.

On an album filled with highlights from beginning to end, it is nearly impossible to choose a standout track that bests its companion cuts. The fast-paced “Sierra” and Number 1, platinum-certified hit “Girl in a Country Song,” both of which appeared on Maddie & Tae’s self-titled debut EP, and “Shut Up and Fish” don’t just spotlight the girls’ harmonies and musicality; they show off adorable senses of humor and undeniable wit that proves their vast intelligence.

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Contrarily, the tracks that are slower in tempo, such as “Smoke,” current single “Fly,” “After the Storm Blows Through,” and “Downside of Growing Up” tap into the duo’s more sentimental side, providing words of strength, encouragement, compassion, and the occasional admission of weakness, tending to humanize the hit music-making machines.

In listening to Maddie & Tae’s Start Here, fans will feel themselves growing closer to the duo, which is already an approachable, appreciative, and humble pair. In fact, the album can aptly serve as a confidante for those during a time of need, sharing in every emotion and creating a safe haven to envelope those feelings and know someone has been in their shoes.

The all-encompassing, well-contrived, and perfectly produced project may be viewed as the start of Maddie & Tae’s career in the industry, but it is simply one more brilliantly planned stop on a journey that long preceded its release date and will carry on for many, many years to come.

Pre-order Start Here on iTunes now and receive immediate downloads of “Girl in a Country Song,” “Fly,” “Sierra,” “Your Side of Town,” and “Downside of Growing Up.” The remaining tracks will be released next Friday, August 28th. You can also stream the album now on NPR by clicking here.

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