Review: Brad Paisley, “American Saturday Night”

Paisley2It’s no secret that in country music, some expressions

of patriotism are more prevalent, and arguably more acceptable, than others. It’s refreshing, then, to see Paisley offer a solid albeit frivolous departure from the conventional with “American Saturday Night,” a proud depiction of America as a nation whose identity is molded by not one, but numerous cultures:

“You know everywhere has something they’re known for
Ah, but usually it washes up on our shores.”

True to form, Paisley takes this slice of truth and serves it with gigantic dollops of whipped cream: French kisses and cold Coronas, toga parties and Italian ice. And that’s what makes it work. With bouncy production and Paisley-style wit (“Live from New York…”), the playful song calls for no more than a playful look at American life. It doesn’t feel ignorant or negligent because it’s clearly meant to be simplistic. Whereas Rodney Atkins’ “It’s America” promises and fails to deliver a substantial look at what defines our nation, Paisley delivers exactly what’s expected on “American Saturday Night,” and effectively, no less. If it prompts the discerning listener to think more deeply about what makes this mixing bowl nation so great – well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Written by Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace & Brad Paisley

Grade: B+

Listen: American Saturday Night

Buy:

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It’s no secret that in country music, some expressions of patriotism are more prevalent, and arguably more acceptable, than others. It’s refreshing, then, to see Paisley offer a solid albeit frivolous departure from the conventional with “American Saturday Night,” a proud depiction of America as a nation whose identity is molded by not one, but numerous cultures:
“You know everywhere has something they’re known for
Ah, but usually it washes up on our shores.”
True to form, Paisley takes this slice of truth and serves it with gigantic dollops of whipped cream: French kisses and cold Coronas, toga parties and Italian ice. And that’s what makes it work. With bouncy production and Paisley-style wit (“Live from New York…”), the playful song calls for no more than a playful look at American life. It doesn’t feel ignorant or negligent because it’s clearly meant to be simplistic. Whereas Rodney Atkins’ “It’s America” promises and fails to deliver a substantial look at what defines our nation, Paisley delivers exactly what’s expected on “American Saturday Night,” and effectively, no less. If it prompts the discerning listener to think more deeply about what makes this mixing bowl nation so great – well, that’s just icing on the cake.
Written by Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace & Brad Paisley
Grade: B+
Listen: American Saturday Night
Buy:
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21 Comments

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21 Responses to Review: Brad Paisley, “American Saturday Night”

  1. ThomasNo Gravatar

    …the review beats the reviewed – i prefer it the other way round, usually. B+ is slightly too generous.

  2. I enjoy this song quite a bit. It’s sonically frivelous, but I think there is still a valuable message in there. The two together work for me.

  3. BobNo Gravatar

    Leeann has summed up “American Saturday Night” perfectly – a fun song with a message. There are unquestionably better singers in country music, but no one entertains me more than Brad.

  4. Surprisingly enough, I really like this.

  5. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    I’m glad they’re releasing this, since it’s easily one of the album’s best tracks. If they round things out with “Everybody’s Here,” “You Do the Math,” and/or “I Hope That’s Me,” I’ll be a happy camper. I just really hope they avoid “No” and “The Pants.”

  6. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Also,

    “True to form, Paisley takes this slice of truth and serves it with gigantic dollops of whipped cream”

    This is as good a description of Paisley’s lyrical style as I’ve heard. Great review.

  7. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yes, I hope they avoid releasing those exact songs too. They’re my least favorite on the album. I’m particularly pulling for “Everybody’s Here” for a single.

  8. Thanks Dan. I was wondering if that sounded ridiculous. With regards to this song, Brad puts it a little more interestingly:

    “I’m just trying to keep one eye on our times, and the other eye on the weekend.”

    http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/06/08/brad-paisley-talks-new-album-american-saturday-night/

  9. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I agree with Dan. That’s a perfect description of Paisley’s style.

  10. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar

    Great review :D

    Even though I live in Australia, this is still one of my favourite songs because it’s fun and thoughtful. Plus, I could swap out America for Australia and New York for something else and the song would make perfect sense.

    (Un)fortunately I think it’s fair to assume “The Pants” will be a single though. Regardless of how it stands compared to the rest of Paisley’s new album, it’s still more country than almost anything on the radio and it’s tone and subject matter will surely make it a massive hit.

  11. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar

    “I could swap out America for Australia and New York for something else and the song would make perfect sense.”

    I think that’s right. And that’s the problem with the song. It’s basically A List of Things You Will Find In Almost Any City. I guess if it has a catchy enough tune, poor lyrics can be excused. But there’s not much “American” here to justify the song’s title.

  12. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I think you’re overlooking the point of the song, Treacle. It’s representing a melting pot. It’s not supposed to be a list of things exclusive to America. In fact, the opposite is the objective.

  13. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar

    There is virtually nothing in this song that has anything to with melting pots. Brazilian leather boots, German cars, the Beatles, Canadian bacon pizza, bottles of Corona and Amstel (Light!), Italian ices, Margaritas, French kisses, Spanish moss . . . it’s a list song.

    I think Brad Paisley is frequently pretentious, and this is a pretentious song. He wants us to think he has something insightful but he just doesn’t. It reminds me of that bit Mike Meyers used to do as Linda Richman: “Topic for conversation – ‘American Saturday Night’ is neither about America, nor Saturdays nor Nights”.

    And his only somewhat good line (“usually it washes up on our shores”) hasn’t been true for a very long time. It’s been ages (9/11 and Chinese goods excepted) since anything significant has been washing up on our shores from elsewhere. If anything is true, it’s that whatever we do will wash up on shores elsewhere (thus, Taylor Swift accepts her American Music Awards backstage at Wembley).

    I think there are lots of good songs that are about American Saturday Nights or which feel like they could be (Chattahoochee, Night Moves, Down At the Twist and Shout) but this is not one of them.

    The only other thing I think BP could be aiming for is an ironic take down of America and its consumption-frenzied culture. But Toby Keith already did that. And better.

    In closing (and aren’t you all glad for that?), BP is getting to be a little Lonestar-ish for me: formulaic to the point of disinterest.

  14. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I can see we won’t even be close to agreeing if you think “American Ride” is either similar or better than “American Saturday Night.” I’m both not surprised and cool with that though.

  15. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar

    I’m only saying they’re similar if Paisley’s sung list of a bunch of things having foreign adjectives (German, Spanish, French, etc.) is an attempted poke at American consumerism. If so, then Toby did that more cleverly and succinctly with “Plasma gettin bigger, Jesus gettin smaller”. Otherwise, I basically agree: we aren’t close to agreeing on this song. And I’m cool with that too.

  16. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Am I the only one who sees this as an entertaining derivative of the Oak Ridge Boys’ “American Made”?

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A51Uca-K-JQ

  17. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Good call, Kevin.:)

  18. CNo Gravatar

    I love Everybody’s Here as well.
    I hope it will be the next single.

  19. Soul Miners DaughterNo Gravatar

    Man! This guy is overrated!

  20. SheepNo Gravatar

    I love this song.

    I don’t think this is supposed to be about an “American” Saturday night. I just think it’s supposed to be a fun, bouncy tune, with several different cultures “forming” one American Saturday night.

    Keep up the good work, Brad!

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