Album Spotlight: Jason Aldean, ‘Old Boots, New Dirt’ – ToC Critic’s Pick
Jason Aldean brings forgotten inspiration to his new ‘Old Boots, New Dirt’ album. The ‘Burnin’ It Down’ singer’s sixth studio album isn’t quite the deviation he’s been preparing fans for. If you thought this Georgian was sexy before, buckle yourself down for this collection of country, rock and R&B.
Vocally, Aldean sounds better than ever. ‘Tryin’ to Love Me’ is a strong performance:
"I pushed, you pulled / Should've just fell into you / But I did what I always do," he sings during this Neil Thrasher, Wendell Mobley and Hillary Lindsey-penned song that feels stolen from his journal. "You wanted to talk, but I walked away / Didn't wanna hear what you had to say / Stupid me, I can't believe I never knew / The whole time you were just trying to love me."
Later, ‘Too Fast’ recalls Bob Seger or some other Motown-born classic rocker. Organ, throwback-sounding backup singers and a pristine guitar solo take the ballad back few decades.
“I don’t wanna be a restless soul / Running on empty burning up the road / Never knowing what I’m trying to find / While the wheels keep turning in the back of my mind,” he sings to begin each chorus.
One’s opinion will hang on songs like ‘Burnin’ It Down’ and ‘Just Gettin’ Started,’ however. The latter kicks off ‘Old Boots, New Dirt.’ It’s a statement song -- one that immediately forces a listener to decide if he's with Aldean or not.
Some won’t be, and that seems to sit fine with the superstar. ‘Sweet Little Somethin’’ is the hottest, most club-inspired production, but ‘Tonight Looks Good on You’ is probably most representative of everything this album is about. Like ‘Burnin’ It Down,’ the song is built to melt satin. The words on paper won’t raise the temperature, but producer Michael Knox deserves a nod and a fist bump from men everywhere for his effort.
‘Old Boots, New Dirt’ is front-loaded, but the boys anthem ‘Gonna Know We Were Here’ and classic country-inspired ‘Two Night Town’ add some needed variety late. Aldean didn't pen any of these songs, so there isn't the tell-all some may be hoping for. But it's clear he's been pushed to his emotional edges in recent months, and that's always a good thing for a country artist.
Key Tracks: 'Just Gettin' Started,' 'Burnin' It Down,' 'Sweet Little Somethin',' 'Tryin' to Love Me,' 'Tonight Looks Good on You'
Did You Know?: Aldean says 'If My Truck Could Talk' reflects his story. “I had a '94 pickup truck when I turned about 16," he tells ToC Nights. "I had about 150,000 miles on it and it definitely has some good stories. I hope somebody runs it off a cliff.”
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