Jason Aldean's nostalgic trip to a time of mullets and loud, heavily-starched cowboy shirts is a fun novelty on the 'Night Train' album. But if '1994' had a cinematic equivalent from that same year, it'd be 'It's Pat.' Like the movie, the song is cute the first time, and maybe fun when it's late and you're drunk, but after that ... 

Young country fans may think Aldean is overstating Joe Diffie's influence by name-checking the singer with a cop mustache numerous times throughout this grating, three-minute country-rap-rocker. "Hey Joe, come on and teach us how to Diffie," he sings. No, seriously -- he really says that!

While Diffie himself would admit that he's no George Strait, the singer's '90s resume is impressive. 'Honky Tonk Attitude' and 'Pickup Man' are hits that have persevered through two decades. Add 'John Deere Green' and 'Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox' and you're looking at a greatest hits album from the decade. Diffie's lyrics were more clever than anything spoken/sung here.

"Now girl I know you used to the same old same / But we ain't floatin' that boat, no we ain't ridin' that train / Hop on my rocket ship and let's get outta here / Let me put a little shimmer in your atmosphere," Aldean says to begin '1994.'

The chorus isn't as reliant on cliches, but it's hardly poetry.

"1994, Joe Diffie comin' out my radio / I'm just a country boy with a farmer's tan / So help me girl I'll be your 'Pickup Man' / How 'bout a night to remember and a fifth of Goose / 'Bout to bust out my 'Honky Tonk Attitude' / A little feel good you ain't never felt before / I'm talkin' 1994."

Overlooking that Grey Goose vodka wasn't invented until 1997, one finds the most charming part of the song in these seven lines. The rest panders to the country audience that's willing to scoop up anything they can relate to and chant, regardless of artistic integrity.

It's fair to compare '1994' to Toby Keith's 'Red Solo Cup,' a song Taste of Country gave a favorable review to. The difference is that Keith performed the song without a trace of pretension, whereas Aldean's recording would lead one to believe 1994 was a watershed year in country music. It wasn't.

1 Star

Listen to Jason Aldean, '1994'

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