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Album Review: “Good Time” by Alan Jackson

March 8, 2008

Good Time

When you think traditional country music some names that come to mind are Merle, Willie, Hank, Dolly, Loretta and many others. When you think modern music with a traditional twist you think Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, Gary Allan, Joe Nichols. But when you think of modern artists that stick to their traditional roots while still being able to bring in countless numbers of devoted and rowdy fans only two names come to mind immediately, George Strait and the great Alan Jackson. For the first time in his career Alan has written every song on his album and he’s returned to his own traditional sound for his newest project.

 Alan has proven time and time again that he can incorporate modern technology and production into his music without taking away that solid country and acoustic sound. This album is no different. The opening and title track “Good Time” defiantly shows you that that is just what you should expect. The song opens with a neat, retro “good time” and goes from their to become a well written and very enjoyable weekend warrior anthem. This is followed up by Alan’s first single from the project and a tribute to his dad, “Small Town Southern Man”, which includes a nice, optimistic twang feel to it. Alan does a nice job telling the story and getting the point across without expressing to much emotion on the matter. However Alan does add his more sentimental vocals to the next track,  “I Wish I Could Back Up” which is a nice and easy song about wishing for a second chance to make things go better than they were.

Alan makes a nice transition back to the good time feel in “Country Boy”. He takes a jab at what seems to be a common theme lately by creating a country pride song of his own. However, Jackson trumps anyone else’s attempts so far by creating a nice beat and very creative rhymes and word play that end in a well done country anthem. Following up this fun song is a mushy love tune, but Alan doesn’t over do it at all. “Right Where I Want You”also includes very creative wordplay and mixes Alan’s traditional routes with his own brand of sultry vocals quite well. Alan then jumps back to the catchy beat that makes up most of this album in “1973”,his tribute to the world and his point of view from that year. In an impressive fashion Alan makes the song less about him and more about understanding that time and one’s own young life as well.

In true Alan Jackson style he continues his album with a very traditional love tune “When The Love Factors High” that isn’t a slow song but has a mid-tempo beat to it that blends quite well with today’s modern sound while keeping a traditional feel. Once again Alan introduces his third brand of fun song, “Long Long Way”.While the song is about the hardship of letting go, it is a very fast tempo and enjoyable tune that actually gets the point across but avoids that depressive feel that such songs usually bring out in a person. In addition the song shows off Alan’s instrumental abilities as a writer and includes solos from every instrument in his band for a very, very enjoyable listen. After bringing the listener to a state of fun and enjoyment again, Alan once again plays with the listener’s emotions with “Sissy’s Song”,a tribute to a friend of Alan’s who passed away in an accident. This song sounds and feels like a source of release for Alan as well as his listeners. It sounds very personal and sincere in a mood reminiscent of “Where Were You” and “Remember When”.

Of course Alan is always a card, his comedic persona is expressed in “I Still Like Bologna”, his look on adapting to modern life with all the new technology and such. With several references to modern technological advances, Alan shows that he still enjoys the simple parts of life that haven’t changed after all these years in one of his most creative songwriting successes yet. Even as he switches to a love song Jackson keeps the uptempo feel. He partners with Martina McBride to bring “Never Loved Before” to the table, a fast paced love song that can easily be a representation of the perfect love and partnership between any couple and is reflective of Alan’s own feelings for his wife even after the controversy that surrounded them years ago. “Nothing Left To Do”not only bring comedic wordplay back into the picture, but also shows Alan’s understanding of how life can become so routine that even romance is all planned out and it just happens that way after a while.

Alan brings in another love song with “Listen To Your Senses”,which eases things up a bit but still has a cool beat to it complete with Alan’s typical steel guitar solo and sense of understanding. “This Time”slows things down even more, but with the same sense of understand on a different subject. The song is a well written expression of how sometimes life has its setbacks but one should never let the past stop them from seeing whats in store sometimes. “Laid Back In Low Key (Cay)” is a nice country/tropical mix that produces a nice, fun rhythm and a general good feeling. “If You Want To Make Me Happy” drawn towards the album’s conclusion by again ringing out Alan’s great word play as the character explains that only the seemingly most miserable things will make him happy in his current state. Finally “If Jesus Walked The World Today”brings a nice conclusion to this “good time” by producing an upbeat and comical look at who Jesus would be in today’s world and how he would act in today’s society ultimately stating that Jesus would probably be a hillbilly.

Alan shows off his songwriting prowess, vocal maturity, talent, and general superiority in the business like never before. Creative word play, entertainment, sincerity and talent are only a few appropriate words to describe Alan’s 17 song project. This album is a “good time” from beginning to end and shows off Alan at his best. This is proof that solid traditional country does still fit in with the modern sounds being produced lately and that Alan Jackson will be around to keep it alive as long as he can. It is quite lengthy and can seem drawn out, but it’s definatly worth the listen.

 

 3.5 Stars

 

Produced by: Keith Stegall

Tracks:

  1. Good Time
  2. Small Town Southern Man
  3. I Wish I Could Back Up
  4. Country Boy
  5. Right Where I Want You
  6. 1976
  7. When The Love Factor’s High
  8. Long Long Way
  9. Sissy’s Song
  10. I Still Like Bologna
  11. Never Loved Before (with Martina McBride)
  12. Nothing Left To Do
  13. Listen To Your Sense
  14. This Time
  15. Laid Back ‘N Low Key (Cay)
  16. If You Want To Make Me Happy
  17. If Jesus Walked The World Today
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jordan Stacey permalink
    March 9, 2008 7:34 pm

    I didn’t notice how much I missed Alan’s traditional sound. It’s been a while since What I Do came out, and this more than makes up for the wait. I think I’m in the minority here but I did like Alan’s last album, “Like Red On A Rose” but it just wasn’t the same. I grew up listening to Alan, with Here In The Real World being one of the first songs I can remember. This may not be his best album, but It’s the best album I’ve heard in a while.

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