My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Brad Paisley – ‘American Saturday Night’

American Saturday NightFirst of all a disclaimer: I have never really been a Brad Paisley fan until today, when I listened to this album. Sure I like “Whiskey Lullaby”, “When I Get Where I’m Going” and “Letter To Me”, but I never really thought “Man, I need to hear some Brad Paisley right now.” He just wasn’t high up for me, like Lee Ann Womack or Sugarland always are. My dad’s a fan, in fact for father’s day I got him Who Needs Pictures, Part II and Play to round out his Paisley collection. American Saturday Night? I bought it for myself, but mostly for him because I didn’t expect to really love it: I was wrong.

Why do I love this album? First of all, it’s so balanced between the facets of Brad’s personality. We get fun and clever Brad (“American Saturday Night”, “The Pants”, “Water”) and we get sentimental Brad (“Then”, “No” “Anything Like Me”), and neither really outweighs the other- although I argue that sentimental Brad is usually much better. Surprisingly, no songs are sexist in any way, an objection some had to “I’m Still A Guy” or “Little Moments”, previous hits from Brad’s earlier albums. The album leans a little more towards slower numbers, but it never gets annoying because they’re separated by bursts of energy, and the songs are just good.

Shockingly, this album has a lot of steel guitar and fiddle- something almost unheard of from today’s Nashville stars, but it works well with Brad’s electric guitar work. His guitar never gets in the way, but comes in to make a slow song a little more interesting, or to drive a faster song. The songs all sound great, and it gives that impression of a good band playing live together, instead of a wall of sound where instruments blend together into a mushy radio-friendly pile of goo. The songs are just great to listen to, save the odd futuristic sounds on “Welcome To The Future”, and it’s a very well-made album.

Two songs stand out thematically, namely “Everybody’s Here” and “Oh Yeah, You’re Gone”, both of them being about failing at getting over a break up. On the former, Brad escapes his ex’s memory by going to a party, where he’s just bombarded with questions:

The first time somebody asked where you were,
I didn’t know what to say.
The second time somebody asked where you were,
I lied and said she’s on her way.
The third time somebody asked where you were,
Well, I just wanted to scream,
I guess the land of the living
Ain’t no place for a heartbroken zombie like me…

He paints an accurate picture of a man not ready to move on, so he just checks out- “Everybody’s here but me.” The song has gorgeous steel guitar parts and Brad sings really well with some nice falsetto. It’s a relaxing, yet sad song and just a great track. On “Oh Yeah, You’re Gone” Brad sings about how he still acts like a couple, even though she’s gone already. Little moments remind him he’s alone, like grabbing two coffee cups in the morning, making for a great song about trying to move on.

In “No”, Brad pays tribute to his Grandpa, relating his advice of how prayers are always answered, but sometimes we just get a “no”. It’s a classic 3-act story song, but one that feels natural, not forced or manufactured like other similar songs (“You Can Let Go” by Crystal Shawanda or “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks & Dunn). This is mostly because it’s completely believable and most likely a true story. Likewise when Paisley sings about how his son will be just like him on “Anything But Me”, there’s no doubt that Brad’s done the things related in the song.

It’s this kind of believability that makes this album good because on every song, Brad’s personality and flair shine and make sure that he’s never mistaken for anyone else when he sings. He sings from a unique perspective with his own sound that sets him apart from the lesser artists on radio. Even if you think you won’t like it, please give this album a try: it’s worth it.

Grade: A

Buy American Saturday Night on iTunes or Amazon.

15 responses to “Album Review: Brad Paisley – ‘American Saturday Night’

  1. Michael June 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I’ve never been a huge Brad Paisley fan but it is nice to know that he’s turned out a strong, solid album. That’s a rare occurrence in the country music industry these days. I suspect that his next release will be an overdue Greatest Hits package.

  2. Occasional Hope June 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I’m waiting to hear this with some interest. I find Brad a bit hit and miss: some excellent moments, but too often his funny songs are far less funny to me than they are to Brad, and some of the serious ones are plain dull.

    • Razor X June 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

      I find him hit and miss as well. I tend to just download the singles that I like and leave it at that. Time Well Wasted is the only studio album I’ve bought so far.

  3. J.R. Journey June 30, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I’m surprised to read such a good review for a Brad Paisley album coming from you, Chris. I’m interested to hear this now myself. I didn’t care for ‘Then’ very much, but I don’t generally like sappy love songs.

    • Razor X June 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm

      I didn’t care for ‘Then’, either, and when I don’t like the first single, it usually makes me shy away from the album. But since Chris thinks so highly of it, I’ll have to give it a good listen.

      • Chris July 1, 2009 at 7:30 am

        “Then” is probably the least interesting song on the whole album.

        I was surprised I loved it so much too! I usually don’t like male acts, but I really love this album.

  4. Erik July 1, 2009 at 4:06 am

    I suppose I’ll have to buy this now.

  5. Tonto Paint July 1, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Welcome to the Future……. You folks have missed
    a lot of the “past”….. Brad Paisley is #1 a great
    guy and one of the most if not the most talented guitar player in any music genre…… He can play with BB King, Albert and anyone else you name…..How many of them can play with him…on country or jazz or blues….

    He writes almost all of his work which is more than anyone else and is still a grounded and loving man.

    Give him the benefit of your doubts…..appreciate the music……….

  6. Leeann Ward July 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I think “Then” is one of the weakest songs on the album, since I don’t like it at all. That song made me nervous about what this album would be like, especially since I wasn’t big on 5th Gear and the single from Play. I’m relieved to like it a lot though. The song that’ll wear the fastest is “The Pants.” It’s kind of amusing the first couple times, but will likely be skipped thereafter. I think, while different, this will rank among Paisley’s best albums so far, anyway. Time Well Wasted was my favorite Paisley album, but this one may surpass it. Even though the production is funkier than in previous albums, it’s more interesting to me as a result.

    I plan to review the album for CU, but I have a lot of other things on the schedule first, so I’m just hoping it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle on my Things-to-Write list.

    • Chris July 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      I completely agree. I kind of like “Then” but it’s my least favorite, while “The Pants” can be annoying. Every other song is great though.

  7. Katie July 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

    And the mix is SO good—they really got a great drum sound on this album… Very impressive.

  8. Paul W Dennis July 2, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Nice review of a very good album. Brad’s offbeat sense of humor, and the musical variety contained within each album – that plus his refusal to kowtow to the PC thought police – combine to make all of his albums into musical adventures.

    I don’t think this is one of his stronger albums (too much drums, for one thing) but it’s still worth an “A” , which tells you what a dynamo he has been

  9. Jam August 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I happen to like “Then” a lot more than most of the tracks on this album. I’m kind of disappointed with this. While 5th Gear was alright with just a few amazing songs, I really thought this album would be great like Time Well Wasted. I thought wrong.

    Okay, it wasn’t horrible. I like the songs “Then”, “Oh yeah, you’re gone”, and “The Pants” but the rest was your average country song.

    Just don’t rule him out yet, he still has amazing songs like “Alcohol”, “Online”, and “Whiskey Lullaby”.

    6/10

  10. ricky March 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    i tried to buy it today but wal-mart was sold out

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