Man Against Machine
Garth’s first proper studio album in thirteen years is chock full of all of his best and worst traits, but thankfully errs more often on the side of subtlety over excess.
He’s always been good at straddling the fence between heartfelt sincerity and saccharine sentimentality, and the strongest moments are the ones that explore parenthood. “Mom” is a maternal celebration that would make Boyz II Men teary-eyed, while “Send ‘Em on Down the Road” captures the terrifying truth that finishing the job of parenthood means letting go, no matter how much you want to hold on.
He overcompensates for the time-weathered reduction of his vocal power by growling a bit too much, and the less said about the bewildering title track the better. But check out “Wrong About You” – which clocks in at less than two minutes, is all fiddle and twang, and manages to be more fully realized a song concept than most of today’s songs which double that length.
It’s a great reminder that less can be so much more, and this album’s at its best when that lesson’s kept in mind.
Recommended Tracks: “Mom,” “Send ‘Em on Down the Road,” “Wrong About You”
I pretty much agree with every word of this review. I like to love 9 of the 14 songs on this album, which is pretty good for not being sure if the album would live up to Garth’s comeback hype. As Kevin mentioned (and I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed), Garth needs to stop growling. The growling ruined a couple of those 5 songs that I didn’t like on the album, particularly “I’m Tired of Boys.” That song stands out to me, because I would like the song if not for the growling, which ruins it.
I’ll add that the title track is rather terrible!