April 9, 2018 Jason Aldean – Rearview Town (Album Review)
He is living proof that 80-proof cannot touch your memory, so sorry Jack Daniels! Country crooner Jason Aldean returns this Friday, April 13, 2018, with Rearview Town, thanks to Broken Bow Records/BMG.
Two-time, reigning and current Academy of Country Music (ACM) “Entertainer of the Year” nominee Jason Aldean is someone that Country fans know well. The vocalist’s debut, 2005’s Jason Aldean, would pave the way for six more albums over the next eleven years, from 2007’s Relentless to 2016’s They Don’t Know. With 19 No. 1 hits, more than 15-million total album sales, and dozens of sold-out stadiums, Aldean is clearly sporting one exceptional career in the world of Country. A wild ride that has, in fact, allowed him to share stages with everyone from Rascal Flatts to Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn to Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, and many more. Oh yeah, and to be Entertainer of the Year!
On his eighth studio offering, Rearview Town, Aldean once again joins forces with longtime Producer Michael Knox (Trace Adkins, Thomas Rhett). The fifteen-track collection sees Aldean offering up party anthems with stadium-sized guitars to minimalist ballads to some bizarrely-placed Hip Hop swagger. It is a wild ride that fans will embrace with open arms and raised shot-glasses!
Rearview Town kicks off with a sip of Patrón and the Southern groovin’ good time of “Dirt to Dust.” The gentle hip-shake of “Set It Off” turns an ordinary night into a 5-alarm fire of sensuality, while Aldean’s vocals soar alongside fancy guitar-work as he confesses that he has never met a “Girl Like You.” This is infectious Pop/Country with a universal appeal, be warned: you are going to experience one truly scrumptious earworm!
Stealing kisses on a rainy Sunday, the ballad “You Make It Easy” is an ode to a special lady who makes love flow as smooth as good whiskey. Conversely, there is a 1980s vibe to the guitars on the “double-shot of crazy in a cup” that is entitled “Gettin’ Warmed Up,” a gently chugging party anthem with some bizarre talk-box additions. Meanwhile, the rockin’ tribute to leaving behind a one-horse town, “Blacktop Gone” sees Aldean as free as a freeway.
A subtle nod to Jack Daniels and its ability to mire our memories is at the heart of the ballad “Drowns the Whiskey,” which features Country Titaness Miranda Lambert. Album namesake “Rearview Town” confesses that while there is not much to this particular town, it is still worth an ode that showcases Aldean’s vocal abilities and one truly sassy guitar solo. It flows perfectly into the meandering, gently rocking sway of “Love Me or Don’t,” where Jason confesses that he is tired of playing games. (Aren’t we all?)
Next up, there is some bizarrely-punctuated, pseudo-Rap at the beginning of “Like You Were Mine,” where Hip Hop-worthy electronics make their way into the backdrop, along with some bizarre vocal effects; the end result here is a track that is just silly, superfluous experimentation. Thankfully, Aldean quickly returns to his usual with a confession that we cannot be anyone but ourselves, the ballad “Better at Being Who I Am,” a poignant little moment that reflects on that whole square-peg/round-hole thang.
The downtempo rocker “I’ll Wait for You” allows Aldean to soar alongside his confession of allowing his favorite bird to fly free in hopes that she will one day return. The sultry “Ride All Night” sees him trying to get lost with his lady, while one hot little number inspires him to go “Up in Smoke” in a sassy rocker that giddily plays with fire. It all wraps up with the ballad-esque “High Noon Neon,” ‘cause nothing says gone like an empty glass. Adios, cowboys!
Jason Aldean’s tracks are succinct odes to love and liquor, and while he is not tackling any subject matter that is unique to his countless contemporaries (in fact, he does not even write his material) he does it all with a certain panache. Rearview Town, therefore, is a deliciously catchy album that is not going to shatter any preconceptions or break new ground in Aldean’s career, but it is certainly worth hearing a time or two, or twelve. Smooth like whiskey, time-tested, and ready to hook you in, Jason Aldean makes small-town appeal big, and, for this, CrypticRock give Jason Aldean’s Rearview Town 4 of 5 stars.