Garth Brooks, ‘Man Against Machine’: Everything You Need to Know
Details of Garth Brooks' new studio album had been coming in nibbles until the singer shared all 14 songs with media on Halloween. 'Man Against Machine' is out November 11, and fans shouldn't have trouble getting their hands on it. It's be available at places good music is found, and at GhostTunes.
Album art, tracklisting and which stores will carry it were a few of the details revealed.. Here is everything there is to know about 'Man Against Machine,' Brooks' ninth studio album. He also shared the names of songwriters, and the stories behind why he chose the 11 songs he didn't have a hand in writing.
Brooks' reason for naming his first studio album in 13 years isn't subtle. “Music has always been a reflection of where mankind is at the time,” he says. “For 14 years, I have watched heart and soul, dreams and individualism, fighting for their very existence in a world of increasing technology. This album is a reminder to all those who dream, work, and fight for what they believe; do not give up your vision.”
The country icon has himself taken on the "machine" in recent years, refusing to turn his music over to iTunes or participate in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. He keeps it real with old-school ways of sharing news; good old-fashioned press conferences and an email newsletter have served as Brooks' favored modes of communication.
During the Oct. 31 press conference he also revealed that the specific "machine" he's staring down in the album's cover photo is a music industry that's become increasingly reliant on technology. Right now the industry makes it hard on itself he says, and songs like the title-track make it clear he's out to fix that.
The feel-good singalong ‘People Loving People’ was Brooks’ first offering to radio in 2014. The initial response was overwhelming, with nearly every radio station in America spinning the surefire hit for listeners. Since its “street week,” the momentum has slowed, but the inspirational mid-tempo track continues to be played with regularity.
“It’s people loving people / That’s the enemy of everything that’s evil / Ain’t no quick fix at the end of a needle / It’s just people loving people,” Brooks says at the chorus. The easy-to-embrace anthem may not be what fans were expecting from such a legendary storyteller, but it's true to the message this singer has been preaching for years.
'Man Against Machine' (Larry Bastian, Jenny Yates, Brooks) - For the first time Brooks named an album after one of his songs. The album's opener is a blue-collar anthem that name checks John Henry during the chorus. Right away fans know he's out to make a statement.
'She's Tired of Boys' (Amanda Williams, Brooks)
'Cold Like That' (Steven Lee Olsen, Melissa Peirce, Chris Wallin) - A tough ballad Brooks thought could have been a Nickelback song. "I could be the train for a change you could be the one tied to the track," he sings.
'All-American Kid' (Craig Campbell, Brice Long, Terry McBride) - The title track almost tells the story, but one has to listen to this tale of a boy growing up on a football field only to choose his country over his dream to feel the impact. It's more conventional Garth Brooks.
'Mom' (Don Sampson, Wynn Varble) - A rip-your-heart-out conversation between God and an unborn baby that's nervous to be introduced to the world. "She'll put you on a path that will bring you back to me," he sings. The singer has a hard time holding himself together while performing this song. He brought the room to tears during a recent performance on 'Good Morning America.'
'Wrong About You' (Adam Wright) - "You were right about so many things that I'm starting to think I was wrong about you," Brooks sings during this love song. It's another straight-forward country love song that's easy to embrace.
'Rodeo and Juliet' (Bryan Kennedy, Brooks) - The uptempo swinger is about a young girls love of the rodeo.
'Midnight Train' (Peirce, Matthew A. Rossi) - Actual train samples add to the drama of this swirling country song. It's about a guy who can't outrun the memory of an ex lover. She haunts him while he sleeps. Brooks called this song "an epic piece for me."
'Cowboys Forever' (Varble, John Martin, Dean Dillon) - Brooks' required cowboy song. There's one on each album, but the singer says this one may be one of the 10 best songs of his life.
‘People Loving People’ (Lee Miller, Wallin, busbee) - See above. As is true of all of Brooks' music, a streaming version of this song is not available online.
'Send 'Em on Down the Road' (Marc Beeson, Allen Shamblin) - A ballad about raising kids. "You can’t cry for ‘em / Live and die for ‘em / You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em / ‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all / And though you just can’t bare the thought of letting go / You pick ‘em up / You dust ‘em off / And send ‘em on down the road," he sings. [Watch Marc Beeson's version here]
'Fish' (Wallin, Varble) - A relaxing story about why it's important to keep it simple. It mirrors the well-told story of the Mexican fisherman.
'You Wreck Me' (Stephanie Bentley, Kevin Kadish, Dan Muckala) - Brooks works the high end of his vocals on this song. It begins with a strong piano riff.
'Tacoma' (Caitlyn Smith, Bob DiPiero) - The final song on 'Man Against Machine' may be Brooks' favorite. It's a soulful story he says he feels blessed to sing. Fans who enjoy his old-school rhythm and blues yearnings will appreciate 'Tacoma.'
Garth retired in 2001 to raise his daughters, and promised that when the youngest, Allie, graduated from high school, he'd be back. The singer stayed true to his word. Aside from a few weekends and a non-intrusive Las Vegas residency, Brooks has remained quiet.
'Man Against Machine' is his first studio album of new material since 'Scarecrow' (2001), although he did release four new songs in 2007 and a cover project in 2013. 'More Than a Memory' is his biggest hit from this time of retirement, but even though it became the first country song to ever debut at No. 1 on airplay charts, it isn't the hit others like 'Friends in Low Places' and 'The Dance' became.
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