Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Album Review: Wheelhouse by Brad Paisley

This album is more adult contemporary than country. Heavily influenced by 38 Special and Bon Jovi more than Hank Williams. Still this is the new country sound and Brad Paisley is definitely selling his music to a country audience.

I don't quite know what to say about the album. It's not for me that I do know. I enjoy the more mainstream adult contemporary stuff like "Beat This Summer," "Pressing on a Bruise," etc. But I don't care much for songs like "Southern Comfort Zone," "Outstanding in Our Field," "Karate," etc. So for me it's about half in half. Also there isn't one song on here that really stands out for me. Nothing I want to hear special.

So if you are looking to make an adult contemporary mix you could throw on a number of songs from here and that's about that.

As for the controversial components of this album that got a lot of press when it was released. I don't see a lot to get worked up over. I have my own feelings, that I'll keep to myself, about "Accidental Racist" but as a song it doesn't add anything to the album. In fact I think it's a pretty poor song. In the end that's my biggest problem with the album too many songs that I just don't like.

Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 1 out of 5 stars for Just OK.


  1. This is a very helpful review. Thanks.

  2. I like this song in the YouTube clip. It sounds a good bit like some Shania Twain song that gets played on the radio here in Madisonville still pretty often--maybe this one.

  3. In comparing Taylor Swift and Brad Paisley, I would like to put in a few good words for Brad Paisley.

    I think it's unfair to just look at their two most recent albums. Paisley is 40, and has probably passed his creative peak. Swift is 23, and is just approaching her creative peak. So you would expect her albums to be better than his at this point in time. But I think Paisley's body of work – 9 albums over 14 years, with the last 7 reaching number 1 on the country chart and the top 10 on the pop chart – is simply extraordinary. And besides, Paisley has done – or tried to do – pretty much all the things Matthew wants Taylor Swift to do. He got good people to help him write songs. His songs matured as he did. He went outside his comfort zone to cover all sorts of different issues. And he wrote about a lot of different topics.

    Now he has always tried very hard to make sure that everything he did would fit within the mainstream country format. Personally, I give him credit for this – it's like a poet who insists on limiting himself to sonnets and who refuses to use any other form. I can see others would see it as limiting and annoying compared to someone like Taylor Swift or Madonna, who are so happy jumping from genre to genre. However, I think this is just a matter of taste.

    For better or for worse, no one has done a better job cataloging the lives of those folks who grew up in the upper south during the 1970's and 1980's than Brad Paisley. It's all there – Pac Man, high school football, television, cars, careers, marriage, kids, grandparents, fishing, dying, and God. He has covered our lives in almost as much detail as Springsteen covered the lives of New Jerseyites who grew up in the 1960's. And I think he's gotten it mostly right.

    Like most of us, he's now past his prime. And like lots of other country singers – from Conway Twitty to Garth Brooks – his skills don't really translate into pop music. I think it's very possible that in terms of sheer firepower, Taylor Swift will ultimately demonstrate more talent and ability. But she hasn't so far, and she still has the toughest part of her career ahead of her.