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“Rolling Up The Welcome Mat” Is An Album Full Of Powerful Lyrics And An Important Message

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUC chapter.

Kelsea Ballerini recently released her six song extended play or EP titled “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat” on Valentine’s Day of 2023.

Balerrini is an award winning country artist who is known for her vulnerable songs and interviews but her newest album is known as her most vulnerable album. It reveals specific details and is known to be targeted towards the subject of her marriage and recent divorce.

Her biggest strength throughout this album is her lyrics. She takes us through the years and specific moments she remembers, and some of her lyrics are worded so impeccably that they make you feel like you have just gone through a nasty divorce, which is something most people can’t relate to. 

Ballerini and her now ex husband, Morgan Evans got married in December of 2017 and in August of 2022, Ballerini filed for a divorce and it was finalized on November 15 of 2022. This was a very public relationship from the start so this divorce was a big deal for both artists. They didn’t speak much about it in interviews but Evans broke his silence a week after the divorce was filed by releasing songs about the pair’s downfall. Ballerini waited until the divorce was final and she had healed to clap back with this six song album that tells her side of the story and the truth about their relationship from the start, through the fights up until the divorce. 

Right off of the bat, this album is proven to counter attack Evans and his released songs on the subject of their relationship. Mountain with a View, her first song, has a mood that is slightly more upbeat than a majority of the songs but still has a sorrowful theme, and the lyrics tell the story of Ballerini being the only one present in the relationship. Evans wrote a song acting as if he was blindsided and wanted to know when it was over for Ballerini. 

She decided to answer that question in her lyrics:

“I realize you loved me much more at twenty-three

I think that this is when it’s over for me”

By singing about the love happening at a young age and saying it’s over for her, she counter attacks the lyrics from Evans. Along with this, it is publicly known that Ballerini’s parents divorced when Kelsea was young and she has released songs like “Secondhand Smoke” stating how she fears she will follow in their footsteps and never find a stable relationship. In “Mountain with a View”, there is a line that nods to this fear by saying that in many fights they had, he would say that she was giving up too easily because of her parents

“Scream, I’m just like my parents and givin’ up easy

But you never took that last flight to see me

Looks like our ending ain’t endin’ happily”

In her second song, “Just Married ”, the sound is a true country song with a soft tempo but again, a strong lyric centered song. Ballerini does a clever play on words with “just married”, the feeling you have when you drive off from your wedding in a car with confetti and happiness to the stage of the relationship when you are strictly just married and there is no love anymore. This song takes us through the journey or process from wedding day to filing for a divorce. Especially with her ending lyrics:

“Yeah, it was love

It really was

Then it was just married”

Ballerini’s third song titled “Penthouse” has a catchy tempo that has highs and lows within the instruments that create dramatic feelings and emotions throughout the song. The song is about how playing “house” and being married can be glamorized when you’re living in a penthouse and have such a public life surrounding you. This glamorous life can also take a toll on a relationship which she states in her lyrics:

“One day, the curtain started coming down

I changed the second we were moving out

I guess wrong can look alright

When you’re playing home in a penthouse, baby”

She also talks about how they had to put on a show and play the part for the fans but she finally realized that what she wanted was to not have to hide and to be genuine for her fans and those around her. This song really embodies the moment she knew her worth and what she wanted out of a relationship.

Now for her fourth song, which is titled “interlude” and is truly an interlude as it is only 45 seconds full of impactful lyrics. You can hear her breaths within the song as she spits out lyrics. The tempo however never seems to be moving too fast. In such a short amount of time, we hear a good portion of the turmoil she went through alone during this divorce. From dealing with rumors to signing the papers alone, Ballerini uses this interlude as a powerful pause to understand that even if you are famous, you have to deal with things alone and deal with lawyers. 

“The rumors going ’round, but the truth is kinda nuanced

I wanna set it straight, but my lawyer says I shouldn’t”

Balerini’s fifth song, “Blindside” is perhaps her most popular one as she has performed it live many times for SNL and other platforms. The mood this song brings is almost like a vengeful vibe. Using intimate and specific details about her life, Ballerini uses this song to tie her lyric heavy and strong album together. In two instances exactly, she uses emotional and certain events:

“Like that one time in 2019, before that big show, we had a big fight

I slept on the couch and then the next night you put on your suit

I put on a smile and sang about how it’s okay to cry, dying inside”

She mentions this time in such a way that her fans can clearly know she is talking about the CMT Awards performance of her record-winning song “Homecoming Queen”. With this, she also places on the track background vocals of what sounds like a recording of an argument.

“This isn’t f***ing news to you.

You’re in this relationship too!”

In her sixth and final song, Ballerini writes the ultimate ending to her album. “Leave Me Again” is a song about the end of the healing process. When you aren’t sad or mad or revengeful anymore, you’re just done. Within this song, she wishes nothing but the best for her ex husband and also reveals some reasons for their divorce in a nonchalant way. Using powerful words, she mentions how she felt like in her marriage, she lost herself and never wants to feel that again. 

“I hope you’re feeling happier than you’ve ever been

And I hope I never leave me again”

The country artist ends her song with the lines that really prove why the relationship didn’t work –  because Ballerini wasn’t prepared to give Evans what he wanted. 

“I hope that you find somebody new

I hope that you get the house, and the good wife, and the kids”

Throughout the six song EP, Ballerini uses powerful lyrics to dedicate a successful short album to her past and leaves us with the knowledge that she is hoping for a better future. 

Sarah is from Dayton, Ohio and is currently studying MultiMedia Journalism at Loyola University Chicago. She enjoys thrifting, traveling, fashion, film photography and lifestyle. She is a creative person and finds comfort in writing, exploring the great city of Chicago, and listening to music. Her dream job is to travel and see the world as she writes about different cultures and activities to do in those different countries. Instagram: @sarahgsommers