It's rare that a lead single of an album so perfectly captures the essence of the upcoming album, but Young Blood from Not an Apology did this. It's full of the same teenage rebelliousness that courses through Not an Apology, making the entire album seem like the kind of album many people would describe as the anthems of millennials. Of course, the themes do become repetitive sometimes, and the lyric writing could've been a lot better on some tracks, but on the whole it's one of the most cohesive albums I've listened to in a while — almost as cohesive as Taylor Swift's 1989, and that's a feat not many can accomplish.
Of the defiant tracks on the album, the standouts are the single "Fire N Gold", "Paper Doll" and the title track "This Is Not An Apology". I may be a minority in appreciating the songs that sound like they used actual instruments as opposed to synth pads for the backing music, like Fire N Gold and Paper Doll, and there are some standout lyrics in "This Is Not An Apology" that highlight Miller's personality, such as "I want to dance/You cut me off/Who falls asleep at 10 o'clock?" and "I never will be the girl who says sorry/And you should've known right from the start."
"We're Taking Over", co-written by Demi Lovato, is also a standout. It would belong on a playlist with songs like "New Americana" by Halsey, and is full of shout outs to "the young, the lost and the underdogs", and is one of my favorites on the album overall, along with "Force of Nature", which was a promotional single, and the song that most directly fits "ballad". I'd like to see more ballads from her, because "Force of Nature" is pretty amazing, probably partially due to songwriting from Ashley Gorley, the country songwriter behind songs like Good Girl (Carrie Underwood) 21 (Hunter Hayes), and Play It Again (Luke Bryan).
The rhymes on the album often feel forced and predictable, especially on tracks like "Rich Kids" (not the best choice for the closing track) and "Dracula", but overall, Miller shows promise as a vocalist, as well as with her songwriting on "Young Blood", "Paper Doll" and "Perfect Picture".
Album rating: 7/10