By Nick Erickson, Staff writer
In today’s society, a large amount of people enjoy modern country music. With that being said, there is also a huge portion that loathes it. A well-known stereotype is that most country music on this century has a very narrow lyrical plane, with a majority of songs focusing on booze, scantily-clad girls and of course, pick-up trucks and tractors.
While it might seem fair to give chart-topping singer Jason Aldean the benefit of the doubt, it’s a faulty assumption. With his newest release “They Don’t Know,” Aldean successfully lives up to the proclaimed “bro-country” taglines, with his overproduced voice tackling the same rehashed subject matter.
Album opener “Lights Come On,” released prior to the album, is arguably a stand-out track on the record, solely because Aldean sings of gearing up for a huge stadium show the following night. Trying to touch upon a seemingly heartfelt testament to his enjoyment of performing for fans, it feels insincere upon being buried in synthesized vocal filters, which noticeably have tweaked his voice to sound eerily perfect. The same applies for the instrumentation, which although being noted in the album credits as actually having been performed, the glossed-over guitars and drum kicks don’t feel authentic.
It would not be a stadium-country album without the abundance of tracks driven by sexual-urgency. Aldean does his best to make moves on ladies on “Bad” and “Comin’ in Hot.”
“Show a little too much when you dance like that,” he says in an awkwardly-seducing manner. Meanwhile, tracks such as “Whiskey’d Up,” singing to the one he loves and comparing her to the warmth of his alcohol, feel as if Aldean attempted to write clever, romantic thoughts while actually inebriated. Beyond all that, Aldean didn’t even write many of the songs on the album, making an already worn-out subject seem even more inauthentic.
“All Out of Beer,” too, has a similar topic of binge-drinking to cope with the longing of the girl he wants. “The only time you show up here is when you’re lonely and I’m all out of beer,” he sings to her. Though a sensitive topic to some, it just feel plain repetitive and overdone, not holding its weight against other chart-topping country stars.
One might expect Aldean to branch out of not just his own comfort zone, but the genre’s comfort zone as a whole. “They Don’t Know” has moments with some rather forced emotion, yet Aldean seems to be so stuck up on wooing women and alcohol consumption to even skim the surface of the vast expanse of vocabulary the English language has to offer.
For die-hard fans of stadium-inclined country, this might be worthy of a few plays, but for others, Aldean is a sure pass-up.