April 12, 2009
Son of a Preacher Man
I guess I should say from the outset that this review isn’t being written in the real world, but rather in “that New York City town.” For what it’s worth, here’s the view from New York City: this album stinks.
I’m going to keep this review brief. There’s honestly not much to be said. There are only three types of songs on Son of a Preacher Man anyway:
1. Power ballads, minus the power.
John Rich may be the least convincing love singer in history. He doesn’t sound desperate when he’s trying to sound desperate (“I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love.”) He doesn’t sound head over heels in love when he’s trying to sound head over heels in love (“Another You.”) He doesn’t sound fully committed when he’s trying to sound fully committed (“I Thought You’d Never Ask.”)
2. Loud rockers, minus the rocker.
He may sing that “Everybody Wants to Be Me”, but his timid vocal and anemic backing band suggest that there wasn’t a single person in the studio who believed that line. His ode to the “Trucker Man” has all the potency of an eight year old boy playing with a toy big rig on the living room carpet.
3. Message songs, minus the message.
The album is dominated by messages large and small, personal and political, and every single one of them is garbled and incoherent. Any woman with dignity who believes John Rich’s advice on how to “Turn a Country Boy On” will know that she’s better off alone than lowering herself to do what he suggests.
While he’s quick to criticize the government in “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”, he quickly pivots and criticizes those on “T.V. taking shots at Uncle Sam.” His logic: they don’t appreciate the sacrifices made by the greatest generation, and that they kept us from “speaking German living under the flag of Japan.” If that sentence makes sense to you, stop reading this review right now and go buy the album. You’re his target audience.
And the less said about “Why Does Somebody Always Have to Die” the better, unless you’ve been anxiously awaiting a country song about one kid getting killed by a train, another by a drunk driver (a “white-collar” one, natch), and how it all connects to Jesus being crucified.
What the album finally comes to a close with the insufferable big band number – yes, big band number – “Drive Myself to Drink”, I reached an inescapable conclusion. This is is the worst country album that I’ve ever heard.