Single Review: Brad Paisley, “Today”

Brad Paisley

Written by Chris Dubois, Ashley Gorley, and Brad Paisley

Many years from now, when Brad Paisley is headlining in his own Branson music theater, he’ll have to do a couple of medleys to cover his lesser hits in the set list. I’m willing to bet that “Then” and “Today” will be one of those medleys.

For me, Brad Paisley has always come off more as a studious observer of country music than a truly great artist within it. He knows how to construct a country song from start to finish, but not how to disguise his work so that it sounds authentic and seamless. It’s like he comes up with a central idea – “Then,” “Today,” “Water,” “The World” – and crafts a song around it, running the idea into the ground by the second verse.

Medleys will work great as a survey of his catalog because with most of his songs, you don’t need to hear the whole thing to get the general idea. He’s more carpenter than storyteller, working from a blueprint instead of emotion and experience. That’s a talent in its own right, but it doesn’t result in music that is compelling or particularly memorable.

Grade: C


  1. Hmm…interesting.

    I think you might’ve hit the nail on the head saying that Paisley runs many of his ideas to ground by the second verse, and this one really is no different.

    That being said, I think this one is an improvement over the last couple singles, which all stunk radio pandering (“River Bank”, “Crushin’ It”, and (shudder) “Country Nation”). To me, it sounds like he’s pivoting from trying to reach the millennial generation on “Without A Fight” (which flopped royally) to trying to reach the soccer mom demographic a la “Humble and Kind”, and it’s not a bad attempt. This feels a lot more genuinely “Paisley,” and I appreciate that.

    Still, it’s no “Whiskey Lullaby” or “Letter To Me”, or even comparable to “Beat This Summer” for that matter.

  2. I liked some of Paisley’s early hits but he got old quick. Very predictable with a touchy-feely song followed by a cutesy song. Rinse and repeat.

    I’m not sure just when he got off track but I’ve been unimpressed with his music for quite awhile now.

  3. The last BP cd I bought was American Saturday Night. Of the 18 BP songs in my i-tunes library, 12 haven’t been played since 2012. Yes, like Caj I too have tired of BP.

  4. I agree with the review and about Paisley. I only really know his singles, but even his best songs just seem to have something about them that’s not quite right. It sounds like he never fully takes his music seriously- his songs are either too snarky (“Celebrity,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her,” “Alcohol,” where it almost kind of works) or he tries to be earnest and they come off as contrived (“Then,” this one) or even condescending (“Waitin’ on a Woman” and the infamous “Little Moments”). That may not be how he intended it, but that’s how it comes off to me. All this has gotten worse in the last few years.

    The one exception is “Whiskey Lullaby” which is still beautifully haunting, but even that’s mostly thanks to Allison Krauss (and the song itself). “American Saturday Night” is pretty good too, because its observations are actually clever.

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