Oct 22, 2012

Review: Jason Aldean's 'Night Train'

Two days before revealing his historic concert announcement at Fenway Park Jason Aldean released his fifth studio album, "Night Train."

I don't know what it is about Aldean's albums, but it always takes me a while to warm up to them. On first listen I wasn't really impressed with "Night Train." I thought it had a couple good tracks, some ok ones and some I just didn't like.

I'm not sure why I was so disappointed. Maybe Jerrod Niemann's "Free The Music" spoiled me a little. Maybe subconsciously I was lashing out at the Georgia native for being an Atlanta Braves fan.

I don't know how this is gonna fly at Fenway.
Anyways, whatever it was, I was wrong. "Night Train" is actually pretty solid. Aldean's had several rocking hits throughout his career, from "Hicktown" to "Take A Little Ride," the lead single off "Night Train." Aside from "Wheels Rollin'," and "The Only Way I Know," Jason shies away from the big rockers on this album.

Don't get me wrong, Aldean's latest offering still gives off a strong rock vibe, but in more of a power ballad vein. Jason really shines on "I Don't Do Lonely Well" and does a great job with "Black Tears," co-written by Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard. The song appeared on the duo's first EP and Aldean more than does the powerful tune about a woman's life spiraling out of control justice.

The one song that this approach doesn't work with is "Talk." Basically, it's a subtler version of Toby Keith's "A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action." Listening to the lyrics, all I could think was "this is song for Brad Paisley if I've ever heard one." Look at the chorus:
"Talk" was tailor-made for Paisley.
"I don't wanna talk anymore
I know enough about you to know all I wanna do is
Find out a little bit more
I don't wanna waste that moon and the heat on the hood of this Ford
I don't wanna talk anymore"
Tell me Brad's tongue-in-cheek style and twangy style wouldn't accompany those lyrics perfectly. Instead, Aldean makes it a romantic ballad that comes off as more cheesy than cheeky.

The good news is it's a rare derailment for "Night Train." Most of the other tracks are traditional country fare. Well, traditional staples like small-town living, falling in love and heartbreaks, all sung with Jason's progressive country-rock twang. Aldean really shines on the title track, as well as "This Nothin' Town" and "Staring At The Sun." The previously-mentioned "The Only Way I Know" also stands out, and features two of country's other rising stars, Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

Aldean's right on the money on "When She Says Baby," a tune co-written by Rhett Akins. Akins may be the most under appreciated man in country music. It seems like 95 percent of the time I hear a song I really like, Rhett had a hand in writing it. The "That Ain't My Truck" singer has hits like "Honey Bee," "Take A Back Road" and "All Over Me" to his songwriting credit, as well as numerous others.

Also, look a that mullet-mustache combo.
Akins' son, Thomas Rhett, inherited his father's knack for songwriting and is really starting to make his own mark in the country music business. The singer/songwriter (who will open for Aldean at Fenway) also co-wrote a song on "Night Train." "1994" is one of those songs fans will either love or hate. It's got the "Dirt Road Anthem" rock/country/rap vibe that I really enjoy. Even better, the entire song is a tribute to Joe Diffie. Now in 1994 I was all of six years old, but I still remember "Pickup Man," "John Deere Green" and "Third Rock From The Sun," all of which "1994" mentions. I never really thought of Joe Diffe as a star, but he had a solid career, and this ode to him is definitely my favorite track on the album.

Overall, I'd say Jason does a really good job on "Night Train." A few standout tracks, a lot of very good ones and a rare misfire here and there. Give it a listen below.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home