Jason Aldean

Rearview Town-2018 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

If you liked Jason Aldean’s three previous No. 1 albums, you’ll like “Rearview Town.” It’s the first country album to top the Billboard 200 this year. He sticks to the winning formula that has brought him past success. The 15 tracks are mainly juiced up, muscular numbers with scorching guitar. Ironically, amid the torrid tempos and high volume that dominate the collection, the ballads are the standouts. Especially with the duet with the Miranda Lambert on “Drowns The Whiskey,”. Instead of whiskey drowning a memory, the inverse is the case as love lost trumps the effects of alcohol. Almost as good is the self-affirming  ”Better At Being Who I Am” and a little further down the track list is  “Love Me Or Don’t;” a slow tempo ultimatum.

Fear not if you like the volume turned up to 11. The majority of the 47 minutes features Aldean once again straddling the line between country and rock. Sonically, much of it leans toward the latter since there is no sign of traditional instrumentation and it occasionally feels like you’re sitting next to a 6-foot stack of Marshall amps. Thematically, it hits closer to his Georgia home. There are a few party anthems and many other  country staples, like riding till the blacktop ends, cowboy boots, dirt and dust and living in a small town. Though most of the effort is rock laced, the ballads provide a cohesive feel rather than seeming out of place.