Ticket to L.A.

by: Brett Young

Ticket to L.A. shows that Brett Young learned a few lessons from his amiable eponymous debut. Where that 2017 album stuck to a middle of the road many other country-pop singers have followed, this 2018 sequel finds Young traveling down new, shiny byways. That much of this territory has been explored by other musicians isn't a slight against the California country crooner. If anything, the glossy, shimmering surfaces of Ticket to L.A. and its vague R&B underpinnings -- the very things that make it a thoroughly modern record in the year 2018 -- feel better suited to this ex-jock with a sunny disposition than the overly earnest, slightly square singer showcased on his debut. Young may still have the tendency to disappear within the clean confines of Dann Huff's production, but since the overall aesthetic has been shined and buffed so it feels modern, this isn't a complaint. Young and Huff lean into cheerful neo-soul and reconstituted '80s soft rock, giving Ticket to L.A. a breezy, effervescent feel that's entirely ingratiating. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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