It’s crazy to think that Jason Aldean has been topping the Country charts and consistently bringing out great records since 2005! Right now his latest single You Make It Easy off his eighth studio album is sitting at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and 4th on the country Airplay chart but the 41 year old has had 19 number 1 singles and I wouldn’t be surprised if the singles off this new record added to that tally in the near future. Yes, the country-rock singer is releasing his new record Rearview Town tomorrow the 13th April and it is already receiving rave reviews from press in the US and it features some fantastic writers such as Josh Thompson, Jessi Alexander, Deric Ruttan and Tyler Hubbard.
The album opens with a classic Jason Aldean Country-rock vibe on Dirt to Dust, the chorus features some great melodies. This is proceeded by Set It Off another upbeat track with simple lyrics in the chorus that are easy to pick up after a couple of listens. Of course with it being a Jason Aldean record electric guitars feature a lot throughout the record and there is a great solo in this song which is written by Brandon Kinney, Jody Stevens and Josh Thompson. Josh Thompson of course was one of the writers on Jason’s number 1 hit Any Ol’ Barstool from his last record. Girl Like You is the third track on the record and is followed by Jason’s latest single You Make It Easy which is climbing up the charts. The song which is in 6/8 time has a bluesy feel to it and is actually quite a refreshing sound from Aldean who is known for his rockier take on Country. It’s a really beautiful love song.
We then go back to the more upbeat sound we’re used to with Gettin’ Warmed Up which features a bit of a rap breakdown after the second chorus. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Jason bring rap into Country music, of course he had that smash hit in 2010 with Dirt Road Anthem written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. And Jason does really own this style of music. The sixth song on the record is Blacktop Gone written by Brett Beavers, Deric Ruttan and Josh Thompson. You can really imagine some of these songs live, they are really going to get the crowd moving and singing along. Then the tempo drops and we hear a slightly slower song called Drowns The Whiskey which features Miranda Lambert. This is my favourite so far on the record as the lyrics are really clever “Whiskey’s supposed to drown the memory, I’ve gone from one to one too many, and the thing that really gets me, is how your memory drowns the whiskey.” There’s also a lovely pedal steel in the background of this production which is really lovely.
This is followed by the title track Rearview Town which is about putting the past behind you. It begins with a kind of tension and sadness to it. The production is quite sparse during the first verse and chorus but builds up gradually to another guitar solo. Lyrically it’s very descriptive and uses lots of imagery like a good Country song should. Love Me Or Don’t is track 9 and the chorus features some great melodies and rhythmically fits very well with what’s currently happening in Country music. This has more of a slightly Country pop feel to it. Then Jason goes back to rapping in the verses of Like You Were Mine. The production of this song particularly on the chorus is very busy but this helps to get the contrast between those verses and the choruses. So far I have not mentioned Aldean’s vocals but that’s because throughout his career his vocals have been consistently strong and this album is no different. It’s on this next track though, Better At Being Who I Am, that you really hear his vocals as again the tempo drops and the production is sparse. It shows his voice suits a range of sub-genres within the confines of country music. The song is about, well, being himself!
Track 12, I’ll Wait For You, brings the tempo right back up from the off set with a driving guitar rhythm and riff. The chorus again is quite catchy and now I’m thinking about it, Aldean’s vocals are very impressive on this track and I love the electric guitar riff that just runs over the top at the start of the last chorus. Ride All Night follows and this is a stark contrast to the last song, it seems to have an electronic drum beat to it, but brings a banjo or similar instrument in right at the end. It’s an interesting production anyway! The penultimate song Up In Smoke has a great chorus, again I really like the lyrics. Then the album concludes with High Noon Neon which has more of a Country Pop vibe. It’s a sad song about someone leaving and again the chorus is great, the melody has space and the lyrics are full of imagery, you can almost see the scene as it plays out in your head. There is a guitar solo in this song too, they have some very good players on this record, well, don’t they have great players on every Jason Aldean record?
All in all it’s hard to find fault with this record, it’s a typical Jason Aldean record, in keeping with his style and brand but it still has a bit of everything. I like the songs that feature rap, that’s not usually to my taste but I think Aldean does it well and he is one of the only singers who can do that and do it well! He is taking this record on tour in summer and they are bound to be high energy shows with some of these songs in the setlist. We can only hope he brings it to England too!