““This album is very encompassing of everything that I’ve done in my career,” McGraw says of his new album. ”I think it’s a good microcosm of what my 20 or so years in music have been, in a lot of ways. You can certainly hear parts of my career throughout all of these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed. To me, the title of the album is all about that time where you stop doing what you have to do, and start doing what you want to do. ” (Ref 1)
They always say not to judge a book by its cover, and the same probably goes for not judging songs by their titles. But while they can sometimes be deceiving (see Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer” for example, the sole quality single release so far off of his current album), titles can often tell you a good amount, as can the featured collaborations on an album.
That being the case, let’s take a quick look at the tracklist from McGraw’s new album:
2. City Lights
3. Shotgun Rider
5. Diamond Rings and Old Barstools (with Catherine Dunn)
6. Words Are Medicine
7. Sick Of Me
8. Meanwhile Back At Mama’s (featuring Faith Hill)
9. Keep On Truckin’
10. Last Turn Home
11. Portland, Maine
12. Lookin’ For That Girl
13. Still On The Line
14. Kids Today
15. Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs (with Kid Rock)
16. The View
17. I’m Feelin’ You
18. Black Jacket
"Say what you want about “Lookin’ For That Girl,” but there’s really only been a few songs scattered throughout McGraw’s career worthy of all-out scorn: the aforementioned “Truck Yeah,” and “Lookin’ For That Girl” are the obvious first two that come to mind...he may have a couple "bro-country” songs there, I would hardly consider him a bro-country artist. He may not be pure traditional, but I feel I can always count on Tim to put out a solid album."
We already know “Lookin’ For That Girl” is crap and that “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” is a vast improvement. Since there’s some substance that we have to judge from those, we don’t really need to judge those based on title.
Title-wise, the one that is an obvious stick-out, at first glance, is Track 9, “Keep On Truckin’.” It clearly looks like it might just be your standard truck song (though there are a few potential directions that the song could go that might be surprising). That song doesn’t really give me hope.
As far as collaborations go, I can’t really clam to have much familiarity with Catherine Dunn. A collaboration with Kid Rock gives me some concern – yet another collaboration with a rapper. But, I’m also willing to give it a benefit of the doubt. After all, Kid Rock did a very respectable job several years back with “Picture” with Sheryl Crow. I’ll be interested to see the direction the song goes.
Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to judge based solely off the tracklist.
I will go ahead and say it: this is an album which, overall, I’m looking forward to. Say what you want about “Lookin’ For That Girl,” but there’s really only been a few songs scattered throughout McGraw’s career worthy of all-out scorn: the aforementioned “Truck Yeah,” and “Lookin’ For That Girl” are the obvious first two that come to mind. “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You” leaned more toward rock, but to me, there was at least something still, shall I say, fun and enjoyable about that song. And “Southern Girl” had some heavy auto-tune and was not my particular style, but it was far from the worst song ever recorded, though there were much better tracks off of Two Lanes of Freedom that should have been released as singles. I find it hard to hold two much against McGraw as those types of songs, for him, still seem very much an exception as opposed to the rule. While he may have a couple "bro-country” songs there, I would hardly consider him a bro-country artist. He may not be pure traditional, but I feel I can always count on Tim to put out a solid album.
McGraw co-produced the album with long-time producer Bryon Gallimore.