Few can make growing up in a broken home sound as sweet as Kalie Shorr does on Awake, her just released EP. The 23-year-old leans on pop melodies to tell her country stories of love, loss and sorrow.

"Backseat" is her mid-tempo portrait of a life caught between divorced parents. Rock guitar chords add teenage angst to a story that's not so dramatic that it's rendered obsolete for anyone who didn't grow up under her roof. The split led to harmful decisions years later, but really this is a delightful jam. Promise!

Shorr's gift is in realizing how universal her experiences are. The Portland, Maine, native appreciates how a few small details and a contagious melody are more than enough to write your new favorite song. "Candy" is every bit as frivolous and addictive of a love story as the name suggests. "Two Hands" demands a little bit more from her man, while "Awake" strives to be as empowering as her breakthrough hit "Fight Like a Girl." Brooding percussion pins this dramatic country-pop shuffle that celebrates getting over loser ex-boyfriends.

The Awake EP is less frothy than her previous releases, a point underscored by liberal amounts of electric guitar. For the most part it's less vulnerable as well, with a very confident Shorr leaning hard into themes of independence. She even uses a few naughty words!

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