Brad Paisley, ‘This Is Country Music’ – Album Review
Country superstars are held to a higher standard because their new albums are inevitably compared to previous efforts. Brad Paisley has set a pretty high bar, and reaches it -- just about -- with his eighth studio album, 'This Is Country Music.'
The album is built like Dolly Parton: a little top-heavy, with everything past the halfway point struggling to stand out from what we've seen from other albums. It's worth the $10-14 you'll spend at Walmart or at digital retailers when it's released today because there are some truly precious moments, including a daring duet with Carrie Underwood that promises to be his next single.
The duet, 'Remind Me,' is for anyone who's ever yearned for the goosebumps their spouse gave them in the early days of courtship. "We didn't care if people stared / We'd make out in a crowd somewhere / Somebody would tell us to get a room / It's hard to believe that was me and you," Paisley sings before Underwood begs,"Remind me / Remind me." The song is a risk for Paisley, because his voice struggles to stand up next to Underwood's. But whose wouldn't?
Other highlights include the Josh Thompson co-written ballad 'A Man Didn't Have to Die.' The song sings like James Wesley's 'Real,' but Paisley adds a sharpness to the story that only a veteran songwriter like himself can conjure. "A man don't have to die to go to hell / No, you don't have to die to go to hell," he sings during the chorus. In an instant, listeners are standing in every American town that's lost a factory, been ravaged by storms or forgotten by highways and mini-malls.
There are 15 tracks on 'This Is Country Music' -- probably three too many, but they are each unique to Paisley's pen and well-branded style. However, some may feel too familiar and almost predictable to his biggest fans. There's the song for a guy's guy ('Camouflage'), and the tender love song that holds nothing back ('New Favorite Memory'). An old man appears in 'Love Her Like She's Leavin'' and then there's the dirty joke song that only the Machiavellian Paisley can pull off ('Be the Lake').
A few others will be decided upon by each listener. Some could argue 'Toothbrush' is more a photograph from the Brad and Kim (Williams-Paisley, his wife) family album than a relatable hit, while others won't be able to say anything between the tears streaming down their faces. Clint Eastwood offers his voice and whistles in 'Eastwood,' the token guitar instrumental. Once again, Paisley shreds.
You'll love this album if you're just getting into his music, or are helplessly in love with all things Brad. If you're getting a little tired of Paisley's formula, you may just want to download your favorite singles; the title-track and 'Old Alabama' are already available. 'This Is Country Music' is a good detailing on a pretty sexy sports car. It still purrs like a kitten, but Paisley may consider adding some different rims or a little more chrome if he hopes to still turn heads in the future.
Brad Paisley Fans: We’re giving away a few autographed copies of Brad Paisley’s new album, 'This Is Country Music'! After you’ve left your comments about the album below, enter to win a signed CD by following @tasteofcountry on Twitter and re-tweeting the announcement of the giveaway. You must enter by 11:59PM ET on Wednesday, May 25. We’ll choose the winners at random and notify them via Twitter. Good luck!
Watch the Brad Paisley 'Old Alabama' Video