Every track feels different from the next with its own distinctive identity, and that enables the tracklist to keep you guessing by how unpredictable it is at every turn.
‘The Future’ album features a variety of song choices and themes that make it stand out among other country music
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
As someone not well-versed in country music, I was immediately taken aback by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats—American country artists who dared to mix and match genres to approach storytelling in disarming yet satisfying ways. Their newest album The Future was released November 5 and Rateliff wrote it based on his self-reflection during the lockdown. The band presents a multi-faceted palette of themes and surprises that take their music in new directions.
The album completely immersed me into the most unconventional country rock I’ve ever heard. Each song is emotionally contemplative, which makes them perfect to soothe your mind or provide exciting beats during your road trip. With his diverse soundscapes, Rateliff balances his raw and gruff vocals with humble stories to reflect his grit as an artist.
The album also has incredible musical fusions of country rock with folk, R&B, and other unexpected genres. Every track feels different from the next with its own distinctive identity, and that enables the tracklist to keep you guessing by how unpredictable it is at every turn. At one point, you’re drawn into “Something Ain’t Right”, a country track with indie rock feels, then suddenly brought to the jazzier song, “Love Me Till I’m Gone.” The band’s bold creative choices instill wholesome moods while redefining country rock.
Rateliff and his band also provide encouraging themes for those that need it most. For instance, the track “What If I” mixes funky R&B arrangements and heart-wrenching country vocals with inspiring lyrics like “When only half of the cards are shown/Maybe as time goes on together, we’ll learn how to grow.” The song explores the strength to keep moving forward despite feeling doubts, fears, and uncertainties in our lives.
Even mental health is a theme in the album through the track “I’m On Your Side”. Subdued drum beats, Rateliff’s fierce vocals, and upbeat saxophone blares are balanced with the song’s repeated lyrics “But if you ain’t alright, just remember/I’m on your side.” This soundscape evokes the need to support your loved ones throughout their journeys towards emotional well-being. The song constantly reminds us to tell those we care about that you’re always going to be there to lift them up.
Eclectic albums featuring new sounds are certainly nothing new in the current music trends of today. Regardless, this collection still feels different because it’s not every day you hear country-rockers do more experimental repertoires.
Rateliff and The Night Sweats’ new country album The Future provides excellent genre-mixing tracks ideal for your travels and times when you feel low. With its themes, lyricism, and thrilling diversity of sounds, the album is accessible for new listeners getting into country music for the very first time. Fans of the genre will especially find something refreshing to add to their musical adventures. So, get listening because this band is not one to miss.