Brad Paisley is no longer a newcomer on the country music scene, proving with this, his fifth studio album (it's officially his sixth, counting the Christmas album), that he's in for the long haul. It'll probably be a few more years and a few more discs before one can rightly call him a classic or even legendary artist, but he's certainly working his way to that status, cruising right along with another solid, traditionally-minded mainstream disc filled with his usual powerful picking, clever lyrics, and, of course, corny carryings-on.
I have to say that so far, Brad Paisley hasn't done anything I haven't liked. I don't know that I really much like the first single from 5th Gear, the amusing (and thoroughly original) pickup song "Ticks," but I can't say I don't like it, either. As with all of Paisley's work, it's so sly that the first time I heard the final come on line, "I'd like to check you for ticks," I wasn't sure I'd heard it correctly. I had. (Perhaps I'd laugh more at it if I wasn't a regular watcher of the television show House, M.D., which gives one a rather nasty idea about what ticks can do to a human body...) Anyway, quite aside from that, there's plenty to love about Paisley's new album, so even if you're a little grossed out about the thought of checking one's date for ticks, you'll still find something to either laugh or cry at with this, including yet another installment of the stalwart Kung Pao Buckaroo theatre (complete with "No-Show Jones" jokes, and Vince Gill filling in for the missing George). This time the Buckaroos do a song, which is really what we all want them to do, anyway (comedy leanings aside), "Bigger Fish To Fry." In keeping with his usual theme, Paisley also presents us with a gospel track, "When We All Get To Heaven," and a hot instrumental, "Throttleneck." There's a "guy song," the humorous "I'm Still A Guy," a love song or two, "Some Mistakes" and "It Did," and a duet with a girl singer (in this case, hot property Carrie Underwood, who sounds a lot better here with Paisley than she does on her own), "Oh Love."
My only real complaint about this disc is the packaging - I'm going to go blind trying to read these lyrics. The tri-fold insert is nice looking, but the writing is all smashed together and it's extremely hard to not only read the lyrics, but also find the pickers/players and singers on each track. The design may look nice, but it's really hard to read. Otherwise - what can I say? Paisley remains consistent, enjoyable, plain fun - I like what he does. He might consider being a little less predictable, but hey, as long as the lyrics are as clever as this (ticks, yet. Ticks!), he's going to ride to easy gold. All the country classics had their own hooks; Haggard had his "fightin' side," Jones could make you cry, Waylon was the outlaw, Cash wore his black and thumped his guitar - for Paisley, it's that tongue lodged firmly in cheek, making serious music that doesn't take itself seriously, and always opening the door for the good ol' boys to make bad jokes, go fishin', drive real fast through the mud, and still manage to crawl back home to the exact right woman who'll put up with 'em. As a quick note, I don't know which of his musical co-writers knows nerds well enough to have crafted the near-perfection of "Online," but as one of the female of the species, I'd like to salute 'em for getting it right (assuming it's not a good-looking fella like Paisley himself, but anything's possible). In the end, it's a disc that Paisley fans are gonna love, and may bring him in a few new ones, too. He's on his way.
- All I Wanted Was A Car
- Letter To Me
- I'm Still A Guy
- Some Mistakes
- It Did
- Mr. Policeman
- If Love Was A Plane
- Oh Love - (with Carrie Underwood)
- Better Than This
- With You, Without You
- Previously - (with Kung Pao Buckaroos/Little Jimmy Dickens/Whisperin' Bill Anderson/Vince Gill)
- Bigger Fish To Fry - (with Kung Pao Buckaroos/Little Jimmy Dickens/Whisperin' Bill Anderson/Vince Gill)
- When We All Get To Heaven
- Outtake # 1 - (Hidden Track)
- Outtake # 2 - (Hidden Track)