My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Crystal Shawanda

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.

Chris’s End of 2008 List: Top 10 Album Cuts

These are my favorite album cuts from albums released in 2008. I decided to do it for all genres, but there are only 3 songs that aren’t country, so I hope you guys like it! (I also shortened my comments to just a few sentences.)

Viva La Vida

10. “Strawberry Swing” – Coldplay

– The great looping guitar in the background with the hand claps makes this infectious track a great happy song. I know, “Coldplay on a country blog? What?”

Dawn Of A New Day

9. “Evolution” – Crystal Shawanda

– I just got this album the other day, and while the material was mostly mediocre, this song stood out. It’s her musical evolution, and she presses on, while her great vocal elevates it even further.

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