Then, it happened. The album was announced, and the cover art showed Farr standing on a tractor in the middle of a field. And while I always do my best to not judge an book (or album, in this case) by its cover, it was hard not to be suspicious, especially looking at the tracklist. With song titles like “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.,” “Better In Boots,” “Criminal,” and a duet with Jason Aldean called “Damn Good Friends,” my bullshit alarm was on high charge on ready to go.
The title track, “Suffer in Peace,” was then released as a sample track from the album while “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” was still charting. And again, I cautiously let my guard down again as I was impressed with a song about a man who’s lived in the same town his entire life and always believed he’d die there, but contemplates a move to a secluded area after a hard breakup with the intent to “suffer in peace.” The song was even better than “A Guy Walks Into a Bar,” with a strong vocal delivery from Farr and I started to think that maybe there was some hope that this album wouldn’t be such a disaster.
“Withdrawals” also had an early availability and I wasn’t quite as impressed, but I also didn’t find myself devastated by the song either. The song compares missing a woman to going through withdrawals from drugs or alcohol. The song relied a little bit on some overused clichés, but musically, it was still pretty decent. Farr seemed to be making attempts to put more into the songs up until this point.
At this point, I’d listened to three tracks from the album, non-sequentially, and while I still had some suspicions about a few of the songs, I actually began to look forward to hearing the rest of the album.
“C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.” is basically what you’d expect it to be. It’s a heavy handed song about how country Farr is. And the song is every bit as bad as you’d expect. The duet with Jason Aldean is not much better. This one would be at least somewhat bearable if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a blatant rip-off of the Tracy Lawrence song “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” It’s a song about the friends who will help you out of a jam, anytime, anywhere. And sure, I know some songs are going to have similar themes, but the problem is, this song literally also starts off with the singer running his car into a ditch. Sound familiar? It’s also sung from the same perspective as Lawrence’s song, not referring to one specific experience, but several hypotheticals, and sung in the second person…this song, just like Lawrence’s is about you. And, lo and behold, it’s sung with one of those “damn good friends,” just as Lawrence’s song was sung with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.
Next up is “Raised to Pray.” I don’t think I have to explain much what this song is about. It’s about being “raised to pray” despite all the hell the main singer raises. It’s a song you’ve heard many, many times before. And one you’ll no doubt hear many, many times again. It’s not an awful song, but it’s highly unoriginal and does absolutely nothing for me.
“Criminal” is actually a decent song. There are a few more clichés here, but it compares a woman to a criminal who “stole his heart, took his lonely nights and ran off with his bad days.” Musically, the song is a bit heavy handed. It’s not overly country, but I can see this song being stripped back to an acoustic performance and being something worth listening to.
“Better in Boots” ventures back into the terrible about a girl:
1. On a Friday Night
2. Under a full moon
3. Wearing boots
4. In a tight dress
5. Letting down her hair
6. Who likes to be called “girl”
Ah, there’s the Tyler Farr I remember.
“Poor Boy” is another song about a poor boy dating a girl who is socially out of his class. Her daddy doesn’t like him. Look, I hate to be the guy who complains about every song that repeats themes. I said earlier, I know themes are going to pop up more than once. But once again, there is nothing original about this song. It’s not done in a unique way, and there’s nothing memorable about it the way there’s something memorable about Brooks & Dunn’s “Red Dirt Road.” It’s just another filler track which is meant to grab the ear of the listener who’s heard it before and wants to hear it again.
“I Don’t Even Want This Beer” improves things a bit. It’s a song about a guy who’s relationship ended and he’s now constantly drunk and he realizes he should be calling the girl and apologizing and that he doesn’t even want the beer he’s drinking, but he never follows through. Early on in the song, the music is very toned back, but gets louder as the song goes on. It should have been kept toned back throughout the whole song, but despite being a bit loud in some places, it’s still one of the better tracks on the album.
The album closes with “Why We Live Here.” Personally, I enjoy this song. Once again, there’s little original about this song about what the singer loves about living in America. But every now and then, there’s nothing wrong with a song like this. It’s been done better in the past, sure, and I can think of several songs of the same ilk that I like better, but personally, I can’t complain too much about this song.
In the end, Farr seems to have reached for more in certain places on this album, but more often than not, returned to a well that has long since run dry. If there were more songs like the title track, “A Guy Walks Into a Bar,” and “I Don’t Even Want This Beer,” hell, even if there were more attempts at songs with the quality of those, it’d be easier to be positive about this album. The album is more or less a step in the right direction from Farr’s debut album, but it doesn’t step far enough to be very noticeable, except in just a few select places.
It’s not an awful album. It’s just not anywhere close to being a good one, either.