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Album Review: “Wide Open” by Jason Aldean

April 13, 2009

Wide Open cover3 Stars

 

Jason Aldean, the cornerstone of the Broken Bow label, has been  a middle of the road star for the entirety of his career, hitting just enough fame to be considered among the likes of Blake Shelton and Craig Morgan, but far from enough to contend with their superiors.

Unfortunately his third album, Wide Open, probably won’t help him reach that higher level of popularity and success anytime soon. Aldean’s newest project, despite it being another collaboration between him and producer Michael Knox who spearheaded the two previous projects, fails to deliver anything really new for both Jason and country music as a whole. The fact of the matter is that, like his debut album which was much more subtle, Wide Open is filled with carbon copy tracks that have all been done before by both Aldean and other artists, almost to a T.

Aldean’s first single from the project is “She’s Country”, which I will be the first to admit grows on you very fast and actually has the potential to get stuck in your head for a while. However, with a hard rocking performance song being the introduction to the project it should have been expected that this album would follow a very familiar pattern, considering that Aldean likes to introduce his albums to radio with songs of such caliber. That being said, the rest of this project is just as typical, maybe not so much from Aldean himself, but from and overall standpoint.

Probably the biggest blunder in this case it the album’s tendency to reuse material that, in other situations, would have probably come of as respectable stand out tracks. Instead, much of the album lacks that “new” feeling to it to help it gain much ground. In fact “This I Gotta See” was once the title track for an Andy Griggs album and “The Truth” covers the exact same line that Chris Cagle’s “Anywhere But Here” traveled a couple years ago. “Big Green Tractors” covers a classic country cliche made popular in Kenny Chesney’s famed “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” while “Don’t Give Up On Me” also covers the popular concept of realizing one’s issues and thanking the one who helps you through them. Even “Crazy Town” follows a similar concept to Aldean’s own “Use What I Got” from his previous album Relentless. It’s all been heard before. Even “She’s Country” follows a familiar line of “country girl” songs like “Redneck Woman”, the only difference is it’s a guy singing it.

There is some respect that should be paid to Aldean though. A lot of this material is personal to him, at least the lyrics say so. Despite it’s cliche message, “Crazy Town” is reminiscent to his struggle in Nashville and songs like “Love Was Easy” and “Keep The Girl” or even “Don’t Give Up On Me” follow his relationship with his wife and career intertwining. He also includes tracks like “Fast” and “On My Highway” to explore his life even more. All this is nice and all, but even here there isn’t much variety as to how much we actually get to learn about Aldean from his music. The only track on this project that really stands out is it’s title track “Wide Open”, which probably should be the center of attention for the project.

Aldean is a great artist with great potential. However, having potential and a strong fan base is not excuse enough to fall short like his third album does. It’s OK to re-approach material and try to make it better, but in order to do that you actually have to make it better. Most of the recycled tracks and messages Incorporated into this project do not stand out from their predecessors. While every song has the ability and potential to grow on you, they do very little justice to Aldean’s ability and the consistency of his first two albums and even producer Knox can’t help these tracks stand out as much as he has before.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. countrygirl permalink
    April 14, 2009 8:11 pm

    I love this album! I think he keeps getting better. He is amazing in concert. I love all the songs on this album.

  2. cowboybleau permalink*
    April 14, 2009 8:49 pm

    I have to agree with you there countrygirl. I’ve seen him in concert and he really is great live.

  3. May 8, 2009 2:40 pm

    Nice review. I wrote my own over at RedDirtReport.com

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