Little Big Town
Rather than focusing on their unrivaled vocal skill, Little Big Town and producer Jay Joyce approach Pain Killer like a game of “Chicken”: Listening to the album, it appears that no idea that occurred to the band or to Joyce during their recording sessions was deemed too outlandish or too gauche.
The result is an album marred by production choices that are rarely in-service to the individual songs and are, at times, simply inexplicable. The tempo changes on “Turn the Lights On” nod to Fleetwood Mac but ultimately detract from the song, while Kimberly Schlapman gets run over by the alt-rock cacophony on “Save Your Sin” and no one comes away unscathed from the absurd reggae inflections on the title track.
It’s the album’s quieter moments that are its strongest. Both “Tumble and Fall” and “Silver and Gold” are lovely, as is the wistful “Live Forever,” and “Girl Crush” is subtle in its sophistication and subversion.
Recommended Tracks: “Girl Crush,” “Silver and Gold,” “Things You Don’t Think About”