The name sums it up: this is Aldean’s ninth album so he’s called it 9. This lack of subtlety sums up the enterprise.
Not that it’s bad: it’s what a certain style of country should sound like, that style being the music to accompany drivers along the endless roads of rural states, or to play loud in sports bars. It doesn’t want to be interesting; it just needs to be background music you can tap your boot-shod toes to.
When you do listen, drinkin’ figures heavily. In opener Tattoos And Tequila he’s in a bar “only one or two away” from forgetting his ex; in Blame It On You she’s gone and he “could blame it on the whiskey”, while in Champagne Town it’s “Let me and this 90-proof do what we gotta do”.
When he wants to say a girl’s got under his skin, permanence is “nothin’ like the bourbon in my blood,” soon to be gone. He doesn’t even need to be dumped to drink: in Came Here to Drink he’s going to “drink ‘cause it’s five o’clock” while I Don’t Drink Anymore is not a call for sobriety, he just don’t drink any less.
Aside from alcoholics, his target audience is men with trucks in small towns who go hunting: he actually has a song called Camouflage Hat, opining that “the girls ‘round here, they got it bad / For good ol’ boys in a camouflage hat.” Keeping It Small Town is more general “We keeping them girls up in them shotgun seats … It’s the way we were raised and we ain’t changing now.”
Musically, it’s muscular with several guitar solos for fans who are still sober enough to attempt the air guitar.
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