In 2020, Ingrid Andress rapidly rose to success with the release of her debut album – Lady Like – that was nominated for two GRAMMYs, including Best Country Album and Best Country Single, breaking through the mad noise of March 2020. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and understandably there has been a huge amount of buzz and anticipation for her forthcoming sophomore album – Good Person – out this Friday. She returns to the confessional booth that she established on Lady Like but appears to delve a layer deeper, both vocally and lyrically. Good Person offers a window deeper into Andress’ psyche – the light and the dark – exposing her soul to the world.
Sonically, the record feels like a more consciously orchestrated record than her debut, creating a cinematic sonic landscape. The title track kiss off the record – an immensely cinematic introduction, layering harmonies on an atmospheric sonic backdrop, as Andress muses on what constitutes a ‘good person,’ and whether she is one, despite the mistakes she may have made. ‘Cause I’ve cheated and lied / And made people cry / But I pray for the ones that I love every night / And I’ve shattered some hearts / And my thoughts get dark / But I’d stop for a stranger who’s falling part / I’m still learning / Good, good person.’ Returning to the co-producer’s chair on Good Person (alongside Sam Ellis, who played the same role on Lady Like), Andress claims that she went ‘a little mad scientist’ – the track pushes her sound in a newly bold and experimental direction, blending banjos with vocoders and swinging from sweeping orchestration to spare, acoustic-based arrangements. From the off, it allows Andress to infuse power into her vocal and lyricism. There’s a raw honesty on the track that is carried through on the entire record. So, the track is followed by ‘Yearbook’ that tells the story of Andress’ parents and how far they have come from where they were – in love as high school sweethearts to strangers in a house together. ‘I guess they stayed together, just because they wrote forever / On the inside of the cover by their names / They were in love, you can read it / I guess I’ve just only seen it, on a wedding card, around my father’s face / They’ve lived in the same house for almost forty years now, but / The last time they were on the same page / Was in a yearbook.’ The track feels a lot more folksy in tone than Andress’ previous records, complete with a pluckier guitar part, which succeeds in making the track feel more intimate in tone.
A large part of the record explores the different sides of relationships, from their ups to their downs. On ‘Seeing Someone Else,’ Andress sings about her partner seeing a past version of herself rather than the present version she has become, causing the couple to grow apart. ‘I think you’re seeing someone else / I think you’re seeing who I used to be / I bet you wish I was the girl that you met / Out at a bar making a mess of 23.’ The track is fierce and unapologetic in tone, and it is this voice that makes it so empowering. So too, ‘Talk’ is an immensely compelling track ‘All we do is talk about it / Never do a thing about it / Do you even care about us?’ It’s a quiet, plaintive track with Andress pleading for an answer with a lover on whether they care. On the track she creates a cinematic sonicscape, complete with a meaty strings section that infuses the energy of ‘Good Person’ throughout.
Honesty is the definitive message of the entire record and so a highlight of the record is offered halfway through on the groovier notes of ‘How Honest Do You Want Me to Be.’ ‘When you want water down whiskey / It gets easier to drink / And a spoonful of sugar / Makes the medicine sweeter / You say you want the truth, but the truth / Baby, it might sting / So how honest do you want me to be?’ It’s a driving, catchy track that would be an easy choice for a single.
A large part of the record takes the ending of a relationship as its focus. So, ‘No Choice’ is a melancholic, heartbreaking re-examination of a broken relationship and Andress’ decision to leave. ‘You watched me bend, and you let me break / Oh I thought that I was stronger, that was my mistake / Maybe I left you, ’cause you left me no choice.’ The strings part rounds out the track with a darker underbelly. Andress voice cracks through the last verse, with real and authentic emotion that brims to the surface, giving the track an enhanced resonance. On ‘Pain,’ Andress’ vocals soar as she offers a powerful anthem about growth through pain. ‘Girl, I’ve been there, yeah, life ain’t fair / It’s okay to not be alright, just go ‘head and cry / It might sound insane but I promise one day / You’re ‘gon be thanking your lucky stars for all this pain.‘ There’s a vivid sense of liberation, as Andress steps away from the pain of this toxic relationship. Here, Andress takes as her cue the classic ‘60s pop sound of writers like Burt Bacharach. “I love contrasting older sounds with modern flair,” says Andress. “Rihanna’s ‘Love on the Brain’ was an influence, too, because I love how she did that throwback thing. I wondered if there was a way that could live in the country space—how throwback can we get, but also make it country, but still fit my voice?” It’s a moment that offers a moment of reprieve, before Andress switches up the energy and begins to celebrate the power of love. ‘Feel Like This’ comes next as an introspective, but charmingly euphoric take on what a healthy relationship should look like – and then ‘Blue’ – a nostalgic track where Andress reflects on the sweet side of falling in love. ‘Thought I knew just what to call / The color of the Colorado sky / But looking in your eyes / It’s like seeing blue for the first time.’ The track brims with sentimentality and poignancy, but it’s artfully done and restrained, with traces of lap steel giving the track power. So too, ‘Falling For You’ also deals with the sweet and tentative moments of first love. Driving with a hefty drum and steady beat, the track sweeps you up in its romantic ideals.
The record rounds out with ‘Things That Haven’t Happened Yet’ – another quietly musing track offering a symphonious clash of vocals. ‘All those voices inside your head / They’re all just things, things that haven’t happened yet.’ There’s a light touch to the instrumentation here as Andress speaks to her own anxieties, in an intimate confessional booth.
Yet again, on Good Person, Andress carves out a path apart from genre, placing introspective and intimate songwriting as the heart of her music and leading out from there. As Andress herself describes, “The first album was me trying to discover who I was as an artist … and this one is just me being purely raw with what I was going through. I didn’t know what it’s going to sound like, I just stuck to the experiences I was having and it all came together naturally from being honest and processing my life.” It’s raw and real, but more than anything Good Person is immensely hopeful and it is this that makes it so charming as a sophomore project.