10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There was no established path for an artist like Hunter Hayes to follow in the 21st-century country music scene. He broke through at the start of this decade as a prodigy—not only did he sing and write songs, he also had a hand in production and, as demonstrated in an early video that showed him flitting from instrument to instrument, could play almost anything. He also had a different set of influences than many of his peers—not just pop, but flavors of it ranging from the anthemic and openly emotional to the bluesy and guitar-driven—and he was studious about learning the tricks and techniques. "I listen to things for a month at a time because I like to dissect them," he tells Apple Music. Hayes has taken on a new challenge with Wild Blue, Pt. 1, his first album in nearly four years and the first part of a cohesive song cycle mapping out his turbulent journey through the end of a relationship. “I just wanted to cover all of it and not be afraid of any of it for any reason, because those are the kind of records that have shaped my life,” he says. “I feel like that's kind of my purpose as an artist. It took a while to get to this point, but I feel like this is the standard for me as far as honesty and using my life experiences to turn them into music for other people to hopefully relate to.” Hayes talks through each of the tracks on the first part of this project here.

“Madness”
“It’s my way of admitting that I have been that dangerously fragile human being, because I feel like there are other people who are struggling too that need to know that that's okay. My thing that I want to remind you of is, there's good. There's love. There are great people with great intentions and good things happening amongst the chaos and the madness."

“Wild Blue”
“It came from the Air Force song: ‘Off we go into the wild blue yonder.’ For some reason, that line and melody has stuck with me since I was a kid. I had a flight simulator and I'd stay up late flying planes on computers. I've always wanted to fly. It's kind of an introduction to the theme: the process of letting go. You can hear someone trying to figure it out. It's not polished. It's messy, and I love that about it.”

“Heartbreak”
“‘Heartbreak’ started as a journal entry, a freshly single me writing a letter to my future better half. It was jumbled. You could not follow it if you read it. It was an outpouring of emotions. I just needed something to look forward to at that point. It's like, ‘Let's be optimistic. Let's talk about the future.’ If this gets me there, then I can't be mad about it. If it's progress, then there's no point in looking back and being angry or disappointed.”

“One Good Reason”
“It's where you're just like, ‘Why did I leave?’ You're hoping you can answer your own question, but you're at that point where you're not sure you can. I wasn't sure I could. I had to experience that. I had to just let it take me over. Honestly, it felt kind of pathetic to write, and that's why the second verse is just like, 'I want to feel strong, but I really feel stupid.'"

“Dear God”
“[Co-writer] Andy [Grammer] and I started with the chorus. He was pacing around the room singing all kinds of brilliant chorus lines, and I kept writing them all down. When he said, ‘Dear God, are you sure that you don't mess up?’ I was like, ‘I don't know if we can say that, but that's why I love it. That's why I really want to say it.’ I thought it might be heavy for somebody who's not ready to talk about it. What I realized was it gave them a safe space to talk about it.”

“Loving You”
“It’s coming from a place of ‘I just hate that there's still something that I hold on to. I wish I could completely let go. I'm moving on, but there's still something holding on to me.’ It's just kind of like being mad that that one thing hasn't gone away. And just trying to figure out what that means.”

“My Song Too”
“This song starts with ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ There really wasn't any angst or anger, and I have no ill feelings toward this person. I'm astonished that I have so much to be grateful for, and want to communicate that. So, this was me bawling my eyes out for, like, two hours. I was trying to hide it, because I was trying to be cool and macho.”

“One Shot”
“After going through a breakup—I can’t lie about it—I had a couple of those goofy nights with friends. I was just partying. So, there's that embarrassment, but it’s kind of like, ‘Okay, I might as well laugh at it.’ I was talking about all these feelings [in other songs] and I just needed to make a joke.”

“Night and Day”
“It’s kind of the beginning of moving on. It’s like meeting somebody, trying to get to know somebody and it just being kind of frantic. Just feeling like, ‘Okay, this is exhausting. I don't know if I'm ready for this.’”

“Still”
“I thought I had finished this album, but I hadn't finished it. I love and I care and I'm an empath. And in some situations I'm way more susceptible than I'd like to be to a lot of feelings. It was kind of me saying, ‘There's nothing wrong with that. Don't try to be stoic and miss some of the best moments of your life. Even the painful moments of your life are going to lead to something really cool as long as you don't lock yourself away from it.’”

Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

There was no established path for an artist like Hunter Hayes to follow in the 21st-century country music scene. He broke through at the start of this decade as a prodigy—not only did he sing and write songs, he also had a hand in production and, as demonstrated in an early video that showed him flitting from instrument to instrument, could play almost anything. He also had a different set of influences than many of his peers—not just pop, but flavors of it ranging from the anthemic and openly emotional to the bluesy and guitar-driven—and he was studious about learning the tricks and techniques. "I listen to things for a month at a time because I like to dissect them," he tells Apple Music. Hayes has taken on a new challenge with Wild Blue, Pt. 1, his first album in nearly four years and the first part of a cohesive song cycle mapping out his turbulent journey through the end of a relationship. “I just wanted to cover all of it and not be afraid of any of it for any reason, because those are the kind of records that have shaped my life,” he says. “I feel like that's kind of my purpose as an artist. It took a while to get to this point, but I feel like this is the standard for me as far as honesty and using my life experiences to turn them into music for other people to hopefully relate to.” Hayes talks through each of the tracks on the first part of this project here.

“Madness”
“It’s my way of admitting that I have been that dangerously fragile human being, because I feel like there are other people who are struggling too that need to know that that's okay. My thing that I want to remind you of is, there's good. There's love. There are great people with great intentions and good things happening amongst the chaos and the madness."

“Wild Blue”
“It came from the Air Force song: ‘Off we go into the wild blue yonder.’ For some reason, that line and melody has stuck with me since I was a kid. I had a flight simulator and I'd stay up late flying planes on computers. I've always wanted to fly. It's kind of an introduction to the theme: the process of letting go. You can hear someone trying to figure it out. It's not polished. It's messy, and I love that about it.”

“Heartbreak”
“‘Heartbreak’ started as a journal entry, a freshly single me writing a letter to my future better half. It was jumbled. You could not follow it if you read it. It was an outpouring of emotions. I just needed something to look forward to at that point. It's like, ‘Let's be optimistic. Let's talk about the future.’ If this gets me there, then I can't be mad about it. If it's progress, then there's no point in looking back and being angry or disappointed.”

“One Good Reason”
“It's where you're just like, ‘Why did I leave?’ You're hoping you can answer your own question, but you're at that point where you're not sure you can. I wasn't sure I could. I had to experience that. I had to just let it take me over. Honestly, it felt kind of pathetic to write, and that's why the second verse is just like, 'I want to feel strong, but I really feel stupid.'"

“Dear God”
“[Co-writer] Andy [Grammer] and I started with the chorus. He was pacing around the room singing all kinds of brilliant chorus lines, and I kept writing them all down. When he said, ‘Dear God, are you sure that you don't mess up?’ I was like, ‘I don't know if we can say that, but that's why I love it. That's why I really want to say it.’ I thought it might be heavy for somebody who's not ready to talk about it. What I realized was it gave them a safe space to talk about it.”

“Loving You”
“It’s coming from a place of ‘I just hate that there's still something that I hold on to. I wish I could completely let go. I'm moving on, but there's still something holding on to me.’ It's just kind of like being mad that that one thing hasn't gone away. And just trying to figure out what that means.”

“My Song Too”
“This song starts with ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ There really wasn't any angst or anger, and I have no ill feelings toward this person. I'm astonished that I have so much to be grateful for, and want to communicate that. So, this was me bawling my eyes out for, like, two hours. I was trying to hide it, because I was trying to be cool and macho.”

“One Shot”
“After going through a breakup—I can’t lie about it—I had a couple of those goofy nights with friends. I was just partying. So, there's that embarrassment, but it’s kind of like, ‘Okay, I might as well laugh at it.’ I was talking about all these feelings [in other songs] and I just needed to make a joke.”

“Night and Day”
“It’s kind of the beginning of moving on. It’s like meeting somebody, trying to get to know somebody and it just being kind of frantic. Just feeling like, ‘Okay, this is exhausting. I don't know if I'm ready for this.’”

“Still”
“I thought I had finished this album, but I hadn't finished it. I love and I care and I'm an empath. And in some situations I'm way more susceptible than I'd like to be to a lot of feelings. It was kind of me saying, ‘There's nothing wrong with that. Don't try to be stoic and miss some of the best moments of your life. Even the painful moments of your life are going to lead to something really cool as long as you don't lock yourself away from it.’”

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

Hay shoppers ,

Breathtaking

I’ve already heard some of these songs live at a couple of his concerts in the last year, meaning I’ve been waiting for a year to add them to my playlist. Night and Day is beautiful, I got chills the first time I heard him play it. Every single song on this album is incredible and I can’t wait for parts 2 and 3 to come out!

Chippewacountygirl ,

Amazing!

This album is long awaited and was worth the wait. You expect to not connect with songs on an album but every last song from Wild Blue to Still are wonderful. It’s so honest and relatable. There has been so much growth over the years and it’s infused in every song.

emmewade21 ,

💙💙

absolutely obsessed with hunter and this new album. his hard work really shows and i’m so proud of this beautiful album (and also super happy I can listen to the studio recordings now instead of my recordings from concerts😂)

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