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Album Review: “X (Ten)” by Trace Adkins

November 24, 2008

X (TEN)

 4.5 Stars

Trace Adkins’ career was reborn through his miraculous #1 single “You’re Gonna Miss This” and his success on the Celebrity Apprentice. Riding the coat tails of this success, he offers up his tenth album and his eighth studio project in a attempt to re-solidify his position in the genre.

When returning with new music it was important that Trace transfer his new knowledge and maturity that he obtained through his break for his second “hits” package and by his run on The Apprentice to his work in order to create a more solid and perfected artist in himself. That is exactly what he has offered for his newest album. Every track seems to ring with a new found confidence and even the most ridiculous of lyrics comes off as honest and real. What makes this projecteven more intriguing is that it’s far from a concept album, reaching to all different direction from war to sarcasm to heartbreak, so it serves as one of the year’s more creative albums.

One thing that’s neat about this album is that despite maturing and the poor chart success of “I Got My Game On”, which seemed to only continue the spirally fall of his career at the time, Trace still preserves his sense of humor and rock/country quality. Although these songs aren’t the strongest in the arsenal that he has formed through this album, they still serve as a nice getaway from Trace’s touchy side and reminds his listeners that he can still turn a decent rock n’ roll/country romp. The opening track “Sweet”, although filled with horrendous lines like “sweet like the diamond blang”, offers a rock/country beat that certainly helps the listener get into the mood for a good time. It revisits the fun-loving ‘dangerous man’ in Trace that has helped him pen hits like “Chrome” and “One Hot Mama”. On the same note you have “Hillbilly Rich”, a comical look at what happens when a simple life hillbilly makes it big on the music scene, and “Marry For Money”, a seemingly foul song about marrying just for money that in the end actually reveals itself as more comical and entertaining than grotesque.

Although they add flare to the project, these fast songs actually make up the worst of the album in the big picture. Where Trace shines is when he incorporates his personal beliefs and values into the songs as well as his own brand of power and emotion to make each and every song, none of which he wrote, believable and honorable in their own way. His first single from this project, “Muddy Water”, draws on his religious side by speaking through a man who is seeking reverence for the life he has lived. On the same line is “Happy To Be Here”, a relatively personal song for Trace who’s career was almost dissolved less than a year ago. The song addresses a man’s realization of the risky chances he has taken and the not-so-safe lifestyle he has lived up to this point and how he is just thankful to still be alive and here right now.

The family man he is, Trace decided not to go without re-iterating his love for his family and how a person’s family should be the one thing on their mind at all times. He does this this time around through “All I Ask For Anymore” where he addresses his younger days and all the selfish prayers he made from simple wants to things as extreme as solving his girlfriend’s pregnancy. The character, now grown up and matured, now finds himself praying more for his family and realizing that the one and only thing he cares about is them, not him.

Another concept that Trace revisits is the soldier concept. As he did with “Arlington”, Trace sought out a song that was simple, but effective, and turned it into a masterpeice of his own. “Til The Last Shot’s Fired” takes a new spin on the concept of soldiers and war by speaking through the souls of lost soldiers as they address different war situations that the world has gone through. In response to these events they also speak to Mary and explain that until peace is reached and the last shot is fired they will remain as lost souls trying to support their cause.

As the album progresses it is easy to notice that Trace has also put a lot more of his hidden talent into this album. His second single, “I Can’t Outrun You”, brings out the familiar feel of “Help Me Understand” but is much better produced and contains a solid piano background as its only support. Accompanying the piano is one of Trace’s most heartfelt and believable performances. You get the same effect from songs like “Sometimes A Man Takes A Drink”, which focuses on how drinking can be a cure or a curse, and “Lets Do That Again”, which has Trace attempting to rekindle a faulting romance adding a little bit of soul to his bassy voice.

Trace may not be a country music mastermind, but he knew what he needed to do to keep his career stable and help support his newly rekindled success. He needed a wide variety of songs with a lot of vocal power and great production that would make the project worth every penny. For the most part, that’s what he got. Although some of the songs are filled with cliche lines and questionable songwriting antics, mostly the rock/country combinations, they provide a slight error that is quite easy to overlook in the very end given the the remainder of the project. Given an open mind, a good ear and a willingness to embrace the best that contemporary/neo-traditional country has to offer, this album is a sparkle in a dark cave. Trace has used everything he as at his disposal with this project to give fans everything they want and more.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2008 2:08 pm

    I’ll comment further on the newest three posts tomorrow after I listen to the new album…until then I make a suggestion for the War songs Check out Dean Brody’s first single…if it’s not making the list at least it should get a honarable mention.

  2. cowboybleau permalink*
    November 24, 2008 4:56 pm

    I’ll give you a spoiler Jordan. I believe you commented on my post so you’re aware I reviewed the single a while ago. In fact “Brothers” is on the list, but you won’t see it for a little while let me leave it at that.

  3. November 24, 2008 7:21 pm

    After hearing previews of the disc, I was a little wary, but the standout ballad outshine the novelty songs. Next time, I hope the fun-loving moments have a little more substance. You touched on an important point. This is an album Adkins needed to satisfy commercial considerations, but it contains some really powerful stuff, too.

  4. November 25, 2008 4:29 am

    I actually think that the best of Trace in his career has come from his powerful balleds. This album has its bad moments in the faster material, but when you consider what both fans and suits were looking for, Trace actually manages to compansate for both.

  5. phoenixrisingsf permalink
    November 30, 2008 2:46 am

    Cool Blog I like your review! Would yo consider going a review/blog of a new age album?

    My Group Phoenix Rising Phoenix Rising is releasing a CD of music
    called ‘Ascension’ specifically designed for relaxation,
    meditation, massage, and de-stressing in a tight world. In addition to Wendy Loomis and Monica Williams, ‘Ascension’ will
    include 6 amazing artists: Jennifer Lim (guzheng), Debra Podjed
    (tablas), Jessica Styler (hang drum), Suellen Primose (cello), Irina
    Mikhailova (vocals), and Karen Segal (guitar). There is a track from the CD up on http://www.myspace.com/bayareacontemporarymusic

    Let me know if that is something that interest you and we will send the entire album via email transfer!
    Have a great weekend!

  6. June 24, 2010 5:07 am

    Album Review: “X (Ten)” by Trace Adkins ? Country Music Central adrian@gigemail.net

  7. June 16, 2011 12:37 pm

    really great sites, thank you,

  8. October 25, 2013 5:13 pm

    Fastidious answer back in return of this matter with
    solid arguments and explaining all oon the topic of that.

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