Album Review: Mitchell Tenpenny - "Midtown Diaries"

If you need to give Mitchell Tenpenny a second chance, for whatever reason, this release may just change your mind.

If you’ve judged Mitchell Tenpenny by recorded mistakes, like the un-punny “Alcohol You Later,” your judgement is a little hasty. He is much more than that track gives him discredit. His second major label album Midtown Diaries puts him in a far better light.

Even on his otherwise forgettable songs, however, Tenpenny still sings wonderfully well. He has one of those slightly scratchy, soulful voices, which always stands out on the radio. However, this time out, he also has some pretty strong songs to sing. Perhaps the best one is the single at the recording's release, “Truth About You.” It’s a quieter recording, with a wordplay chorus worthy of Elvis Costello. “If you quit telling lies about me/I won’t tell the truth about you.” That’s one fine way to derail a gossip train!

Tenpenny has said he spent all his time during the pandemic writing songs, and this EP (Isn’t eight songs a little longer than an EP, by the way?) shows how this woodshedding paid off. He co-wrote all of them. “Good Thing” is a really sweet love song, for instance. He appreciates his lover and is oh so thankful she loves him.

Midtown Diaries is a release that just gets better with repeated plays. It’s even as honest as a diary in places. If you need to give Mitchell Tenpenny a second chance, this release may just change your mind – for the better – about the performer.