Album Review: Jason Aldean – Rearview Town

This is Jason Aldean’s best album in a long time despite two thirds of it being dreadful, overproduced garbage…4/10

Best Songs: Drowns The Whiskey, Better At Being Who I Am, Rearview Town

Jason Aldean is one of the most frustrating mainstream artists that I listen to. Aldean has the ability to put out truly great country music as we have seen in the past and even with some of his new album Rearview Town.

When the lead single “You Make it Easy” was released it appeared to be a good sign. After all, Aldean typically releases some of the worst lead singles of any artist in mainstream country music. Remember “Burnin’ It Down?” How about “Lights  Come On?” It wasn’t reinventing the wheel or particularly country but it was a fine love song and a fine lead single.

The first songs to be released from the album were also pretty good with the exception of “Gettin’ Warmed Up” which may be the worst song on the album. Songs like the title track and the duet with Miranda Lambert “Drowns The Whiskey” are real standouts. The former details a man leaving his home town after a bad breakup. He never thought he would ever leave that town but he can’t stand the memories and running into the woman that broke his heart in the small town. The ladder is the best song on the album by far. It isn’t arena rock, isn’t overproduced and has real steel guitar! No matter how much whiskey he drinks he can’t get over his breakup. My only real critique of this song is that Miranda Lambert is essentially a backup singer on this track having no solo lines. If Lambert could have sung say the second verse of the song, it would have elevated an already great song.

We have not one but TWO songs where the 41 year old country singer Jason Aldean tries to rap in the songs “Set it Off” and “Like You Were Mine.” We also get to learn what gets Aldean “lit” in “Set it Off.” Clearly this is a word that should be in the vocabulary of a 41 year old country singer who is a father to three children. It just fits.

About a third of the album is really good and the other two thirds are not worth a second of your time. Rapping, electronic production, arena rock and generic lyrics are the bad two thirds. “Love me or Don’t” is as generic lyrically as a country song gets. The idea of two people that clearly don’t belong together but keep hooking up anyway. At least we get the computerized drums in the chorus to really elevate the song.

The two other real highlights on this album are “Better At Being Who I Am” and “High Noon Neon.” “Better At Being Who I Am” is the most self-aware mature song that Aldean has cut in years. He realizes that the relationship he was in had to end because they were simply not compatible people. They were different people and he tried to be someone that he wasn’t and it was never going to last. Now that they are apart he can be himself, someone he is proud to be.

This is Jason Aldean’s best album in a long time despite two thirds of it being dreadful, overproduced garbage. If you listen to the songs that I told you were part of the bad two thirds you may not ever truly recover. The innocence of your ears will be gone along with the steel guitar and fiddle of country radio. What’s unfortunate is Jason Aldean has proven how great he can be with songs like “The Truth,” “Two Night Town,” and most recently “Drowns the Whiskey” and “Better At Being Who I Am.” Practically everything Aldean releases is to feed his stadium and arena touring machine. Sell alcohol, party all night and don’t make the crowd think too much. Thinking is hard.

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