My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Aaron Tippin – ‘Lookin’ Back At Myself’

tippinLike his labelmate Clint Black, Aaron Tippin had a hand in writing most of the songs he recorded, and also like Black, after a few albums it became apparent that he was starting to run out of good ideas. Even a new producer, Steve Gibson couldn’t keep Lookin’ Back At Myself, Tippin’s fifth release for RCA, from sounding like a rehash of his earlier work. The lead single “I Got It Honest” is another ode to the blue collar work ethic, while the title track revisits the theme of standing by one’s convictions no matter what the consequences and “Lovin’ Me Into An Early Grave” sounds way too much like “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With The Radio” to be truly enjoyable.

The familiar themes were beginning to wear thin at radio; “I Got It Honest” failed to reach the Top 10, peaking at #15. The album’s second single “She Feels Like A Brand New Man Tonight” is a less traditional number that at least attempts to venture into new territory. However, it is one of Tippin’s poorer efforts and it only reached #39. The fact that RCA didn’t release any further singles may have been a sign that Tippin was beginning to lose the support of his label. That is a shame, because even though the rest of the album is a mixed bag, it contains a handful of decent songs that might have been better choices for singles. “She’s Got A Way (Of Makin’ Me Forget)” is a fiddle-led traditional number in the vein that Aaron Tippin was born to sing. The same goes for “Standin’ On The Promises”. “Lookin’ Back At Myself” is likewise a very enjoyable song, despite being a bit unoriginal. “Bayou Baby” is a bit fluffy, but might have had a successful chart run as a summmertime release.

On the other hand, “Country Boy’s Tool Box” is an unmitigated disaster that was presumably inspired by the then-popular line dancing craze. The beat is annoying, the lyrics are shallow and it is lacking in melody. Unfortunately the song made another appearance on Tippin’s subsequent album. “Mission From Hank” is a forgettable number, notable only for being the only song on the album that Tippin didn’t co-write.

Overall, Lookin’ Back At Myself is a good, but slightly uneven effort. The album cuts are better than the tracks that were released as singles. RCA seems to have been marketing Tippin as salt-of-the-earth, hardworking and God-fearing and the single choices definitely reflect that but by this time, it was beginning to become a cliche. It’s too bad they didn’t try harder to market some of Aaron’s other singles; if they had he might have enjoyed a few more years in the spotlight. Despite its missteps, the album is certainly good enough to justify the small expenditure required to pick up a cheap copy.

Grade: B


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