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Album Review: “What I’m For” by Pat Green

January 26, 2009

What I'm For cover

 3 Stars

 

One of the most notable Texas country artists of the modern era of country music, Pat Green’s career has been filled with some serious ups and downs. His life transformed when “Wave On Wave” landed him a Grammy nomination, followed by a string of hits and misses that never brought him even a top twenty. His previous album Cannonball was a very out there project that was presented at a crossroad in his career, having switched to BNA.

Pat now shows off his second project for BNA which is a much more satisfying attempt than Cannonball. As the title hints, this album is composed of some very personal and relative songs to both Pat and his throng of fans. The first single, the romantic “Let Me”, became only the third top 20 hit of his career and is still rising as an underdog single at country radio. Save for this song and one other, Pat wrote most of the tracks on this project about either his personal views or his way of life completely careless about what the country radio world would think of any of it. Maybe that was a good thing because it certainly helped him improve.

I concede that much of this album fails to cover new ground. The concepts of stardom, the system, and personal opinions is obviously nothing new at all in the country world. What’s nice though is how Pat went about taking on these often controversial and overdone concepts. Very few tracks here are dreary and slow, providing a lot of uplifting material. There are a couple ballads here, like “Let Me” and the powerful and dark “In The Middle Of The Night”, a ballad focusing on coming to grips with your issues and making the next move, but for the most part this is an entertaining album, not one that’s meant to pull heart strings. You could go for a more modern country mix with “Country Star”, which name drops many of today’s contemporary stars in a theme song for aspiring artists, or you could opt out for a more meaningful and mid tempo mix with songs like “Lucky” and “Carry On”, a former single of Pat’s re-recorded from his album Three Days.

One major aspect of this album, as i already mentioned, is that it is very personal for Pat. The title track itself acts as a very open representation of his personal beliefs from every angle of controversy in this world. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking that this album is all about arguments and politics. “Footsteps of Our Fathers” is just as personal, but is more of a parent oriented tune that talks about how the paths we follow or the things we do are based off those who came before us and what we leave for our own kids, Pat having a few of his own to relate this to. “In This World” and “In It For The Money” are more oriented towards the specific issue of dependence on cash, the first telling about how this can hold once great people back and the second taking the story of a man and a hooker and using it to symbolize the choice between love and money in your future.

So this album is quite literally a look at what Pat Green is for. However, some of the material is quite bland when related to the overall country music world and the competition he has to face. As far as singing and writing goes this new project presents a lot of growth and learning from the great Texas troubadour and it’s clear that Pat really doesn’t care what radio wants to play or what critics want from a project. He writes about things he cares about, speaks his mind in a respectable, yet effective manner and understands his fans, old and new, enough to know what they want. This isn’t a perfect album and may not be one of the years best in the long run, but it’s certainly worth a good listen and in the end it’s all up to taste and personal opinion here.

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