When naming an album This is Country Music you need to deliver on that promise and Brad Paisley does on his eighth studio album. This is Country Music offers 15 tracks of love, loss, family, sunshine, partying, hurt, hope and everything else you would expect from a country album.
“So turn it on, turn it up and sing along/ This is real, this is your life in song/ This is country music,” Paisley sings on the title track. There has been much debate about what modern country music really is, with mainstream artists sounding more pop and rock than traditional country and bluegrass, but these lines sum up country music better than anyone has in awhile. Country music is more about the songs than the sound. It offers snapshots of everyday life and touches on topics that no other genre dares to.
Paisley offers a variety of traditional country guitar licks, but throws in surf guitar stylings on “Working on a Tan,” bluegrass on “Be The Lake,” and mariachi influences on “Don’t Drink the Water.” There’s no doubt that Paisley is a skilled guitarist and this album showcases his musical talent as much as his smooth voice.
As with any Paisley album, there is a mix of lighthearted novelty songs and poignant serious ballads. “Camouflage” is an ode to redneck fashion while “Working on a Tan” is a perfect summer anthem for those who just want to relax and catch some sun. Paisley teams with Blake Shelton on the delightful “Don’t Drink the Water” and Clint Eastwood lends his whistling skills to the instrumental “Eastwood.”
The album’s strengths are in its more sincere fare. A highlight is “New Favorite Memory,” a tender song about making new memories in a relationship.
The true standout is “Remind Me,” a duet with Carrie Underwood about rekindling the flame in an aging relationship. Underwood’s voice soars on the record and blends perfectly with Paisley’s. The pair previously teamed up on “Oh Love,” a track from Paisley’s 2007 album 5th Gear. “Remind Me” is bound to be a massive single on country radio and its success will hopefully lead to more collaborations between the two superstars.
This is Country Music lives up to its name and is a strong representation of contemporary country music. It’s an album every country fan can appreciate.
This is Country Music was released on May 23, 2011.