Sound: I was looking forward to this album and now that I have it and listened to it a dozen times, there's so much I can say about it. This album was released just 2 days ago so I was hoping to be the first reviewer [inevitably so]. This album is probably my favourite - it's got everything "Time Well Wasted" had although it only just got better! The lyrics have definitely improved and I no longer worry about the lyrical content of the album (see lyrics). The sound has generally improved with added mixes that seemed inconceivable, given the first 4 albums: there are brass trumpets! Brad hasn't lost his sound and skill and it seems moronic to even suggest that he ever would. I confess I thought this given the pure class that Time Well Wasted was.
What I find has also changed in this album, with respect to his previous is the attention he has paid to the introduction of songs. For example, in such songs as, "All I wanted was a Car", "Ticks", "Online", "Mr. Policeman" and "I'm Still a Guy" - there is a real introduction lasting at least 20 seconds. You'll realise what I mean when you listen to the record. I realise it might seem like an absurb idea to say that there is a "real introduction" but what I really mean is that there is a "preface" to each song.
I believe that this showcases some of Brad's best playing, at least in country. I am a little disappointed I didn't see much Jazz going for the new album - would love to see him Jazz it up as he did with his previous albums. Well, if anything his playing has got better by a mile and it's hard to see it never will get better - oh yes, there's an instrumental too. I particularly enjoyed the solo in, "Online" in what would be an epic solo over a minute long. I wish people can hear his innovative style of playing and the skill he has on guitar but sadly he seems to be overshadowed because he's, all but simply "country".
This is a straight 10. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are really a hallmark for this album - more so than his playing I believe. I've always had this pet peeve with lyrics. I generally won't listen to music unless there are good lyrics and clear instrumental talent. I knew Brad's lyrics weren't the best but I knew he would improve. This guy just keeps on going and going. He never stops trying and I now longer care or anticipate what his lyrics will sound like.
5th gear is a fresh change from Time Well Wasted. It has everything that Time Well Wasted has but only better and I cannot tell you how refreshing that may seem. The lyrics are funnier, emphasis on this. The lyrics to, "Online" really made me chuckle more than any other Brad song and the reference to "Krispy Kreames" in Mr. Policeman was inevitable.
I remember hearing an interview with Brad about the new album and he did mention the lyrics were really hitting a sour grape, not a negative comment, mind. He was of course, referring to the lyrics in "Ticks" and "I'm Still a Guy". Brad's sense of humour in his lyrics and his exceptional gift of hiding [but not really!] the true meaning has earned him an adult-label free produced album. The sexual inuendo of some of his lyrics are intended to be humourous and I'll be sad to hear them going. To quote Brad - "We really pushed it across the line. We can't do that in the next record with an adult-lable stamped on the record". Well, he said that kids wouldn't get it anyway, lol. It's about time they learn about "gripping a taco box" and "drunk naked girls" and wanting to "check someone for ticks".
Asides from the humourous side of the album, Brad [as well saw in his previous albums] can get serious. His heartfelt lyrics really hit a beat in your heart. I'm talking about, "Some Mistakes". It's wonderful and reminds me of the joys of meeting someone for the first time. Another song which really hits you is, "It did". This is Brad's way of illustrating [beautifully] how life has gotten better for him - "It doesn't get better than this but it did".
I stress the importance of listening to this album thoroughly. It's quite hard to explain what i'm trying to get to you with an absence of a record on your behalf. // 10
Overall Impression: Does it compare to other artists? Hardly. Brad Paisley is one of a kind, he really is. There is no one like him. I can't choose a more impressive song - each one has it's qualities but I do have a favourite and that's, "I'm Still a Guy". Get it now. Really. // 10