Album Review: Jason Aldean – My Kinda Party

Juli Thanki | December 6th, 2010

Jason Aldean - My Kinda PartyDespite his love of namedropping classic country singers—on this record, “ol’ Hank” and George Jones get cited, and of course there was “Johnny Cash,” the 2007 single that had nothing to do with the Man in Black aside from the statement that he will “rock your ass”—Jason Aldean still has more in common with Molly Hatchet than Merle Haggard. That said, his fourth album, My Kinda Party includes some of his most enjoyable and mature work to date.

He sticks to what works for him: songs about small towns, parties, girls, and partying with girls in small towns. The album’s two strongest songs, “Church Pew or Bar Stool” and “Tattoos on this Town” offer up differing views of life in a small town, which can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly stifling. “Church Pew” is reminiscent of “Amarillo Sky” in terms of gravity, as the lyrics have Aldean trying to get out of a dying town where life revolves around either the bottle or the Bible. “Tattoos,” meanwhile, is a little more positive, recognizing the advantages of rural, tight-knit life without resorting to idealization.

His collaboration with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” is a guilty pleasure for those of us who have a soft spot for overwrought ’80s ballads like “I Want to Know What Love Is” or “Glory of Love.” Clarkson is a far stronger singer than her duet partner here, but she scales back a bit and the two make it work, sounding surprisingly good together (and far better than the pair sounded on last month’s CMA Awards broadcast).

Though My Kinda Party does have some of the best songs of Aldean’s career, it also has its fair share of clunkers, starting with the title track and leadoff single. “My Kinda Party,” written by Brantley Gilbert, is generic country rock that sounds as though it’s been recorded by Aldean half a dozen times before. Meanwhile, the version of Colt Ford’s “Dirt Road Anthem” is just awful: if you’re going to include rapping in a country song, at least have rhymes with a little more heft and creativity than “I’m tired of talkin’, man, y’all ain’t listenin’/Them old dirt roads is what y’all missin’.

“Country Boy’s World,” about a Jersey girl who moves South, is “Good Directions” minus the charm and plus several more clichés. Never mind that some of the Southern staples mentioned in the lyrics that said girl has allegedly never experienced, like the smell of wildflowers and a field lit up with fireflies, can actually be found in the exotic lands of South Jersey; there’s nothing remotely interesting, catchy, or captivating about this song, placing it squarely in the category of album filler. Same goes for “Just Passing Through,” a love song whose lyrics “I’m just here to love you, girl/It’s your world and I’m just passing through” make it a perfect anthem for a relationship in which one of the participants has no sense of self worth. At least it’s catchy.

Though My Kinda Party isn’t an album that’ll convert many nonfans, Aldean’s longtime listeners should be delighted.

3.5 Stars

  1. Ben Foster
    December 6, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I haven’t heard all of this album yet, but I’ve listened to a few songs. I enjoyed “Church Pew” and “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” but I still despise the title track.

    For some reason, I was actually tempted to like “Dirt Road Anthem,” though I wouldn’t say for sure that I do. The hick-rap bit was an interesting touch. (I don’t even know why I’m saying this – It sounds like it should be the kind of thing I’d hate! Maybe I just need to lie down and listen to Hank for a few hours)

  2. Katherine
    December 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    My favorite track on the album is “Texas Was You” … closely followed by “Tattoos on this Town” and “It Ain’t Easy.” This album took a couple listens for me to appreciate it fully, but I do think it’s pretty solid.

    I guess I can be classified as a “longtime listener,” but even so, I like Aldean’s style of rock-country.

  3. dave
    December 6, 2010 at 10:00 am

    big big fan of “fly over states”…great perspective

  4. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Here it is again, that correlation between the pop-country of 2010 and the adult-contemporary of 1985. WHich leads me to crown Aldean the Eddie Money of Country Radio. A couple good tunes (I actually even like “Amarillo Sky”) but overall, music for meatheads.

  5. MayorJoBob
    December 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I too have a soft spot for Aldean and I don’t know why. I’ve followed him since “Amarillo Sky” and now own every album. I still like his first two the most. I’ll check this out too.

  6. Savrola
    December 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Is anyone else tired of the repetitive and loud drum/guitar combos in Aldean’s music? And the over-done fiddle or (rather than and) steel pieces, when they are injected into his music are so overblown.

    There’s a complete lack of instrumentation, and originality in both the music and the lyrics and yes, this goes especially for Dirt Road Anthem. Seems like country lyricists are only allowed a vocabulary of a thousand words. The same thousand words, they’ve had for decades.

    But it’s hardly their fault, nor Aldean’s fault, he’s talented but he has nothing to work with.
    For example, Church Pew or Bar Stool is the best song on the album because it’s real.
    The only public places left in a lot of small Southern are Churchs and bars.

  7. Kate
    December 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I have to say this is one of my favorite albums of the year. Seeing as there are plenty of tracks on the album, you are bound to like some. I know Jason Aldean usually is frowned upon by ‘true country’ fans, but I really enjoyed this album. If Texas Was You, Fly Over States, and Country Boy’s world are my favorites. And I definitely can see the massive amounts of cliches in Country Boy’s World, but that doesn’t make me love it any less. I think the song has a great tune to it. I know he’s no amazing vocalist, but he always has a knack of recording songs that I like.

  8. Rick
    December 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I consider Jason Aldean a sort of “missing link”! Jason bridges the gap between the rockin’ mediocrity of Texas style Red Dirt music and the pop-rock schlockim’ mediocrity of AirHead Country Radio style mainstream contemporary country music. He proudly draws his influences from a diverse group of specific musical styles, all of which I don’t really give a sh*t about. Jason is a master at recycling, tweaking, and combining previous sounds to make them sound new. Its no wonder he’s so popular and has such a devoted fan base among the unwashed masses. Awesome, just awesome…

  9. Charles Murphy
    December 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Jason Aldean and his band/production team are the repetative douchbags of Nashville. Nothing new here…Same sound…Same drum beats…same lame 80s throwback guitar riffs. You can almost play all of Aldeans CDs on top of each other and tell no difference at all.

    As others have said before, “This is everything souless and wrong with country music.”

    What is really a shame is that, because the team of Aldean/Knox have become the “flavor of the moment”, lots have turned to that formula for their songs…SO…there is now an influx of these awful sounding clones on the landscape now.

    As far as anyone can tell, Aldean is the ONLY act keeping the lights on at Broken Bow. Looks like it’ll be another Lyric Street in the makings…Only one successful act.

  10. Noeller
    December 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    there’s solid material on this project (as there almost always is with Aldean) but “Dirt Road Anthem” is just such a steaming pile of dog crap on the carpet, I want to hate the entire album just outta spite for the one track.

  11. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Colt Ford, isn’t he the guy that does that dumb “Chicken and Biscuits” song? Is that “hick-hop” thing his signature or something? Aldean seems to go for it an awful lot, too, not realizing what a tool he sounds like doing it.

  12. Devin
    December 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Gah, so much hate for Jason. I won’t deny that there are some real duds on this album (Dirt Road Anthem) or songs that just shouldn’t have been cut (My Kinda Party, because the original is much more authentic and suited to the underground following Brantley has), but I don’t think he’s the image of all that’s wrong with country music like people keep saying. There’s a more talented and deeper artist beyond most of the trite songs released to radio.

    And I don’t understand all the hate for his (and others) drawing musical influences from the 80’s rock-ish sorta stuff. It’s not my cup of tea either, but do you all not realize that musical influences and stylings change over time? The music you like was once thought to be lame by some group of fans for their influences. You can dislike the music because you don’t enjoy it, but don’t be a hypocrite and say you hate it because it’s new and draws from non-country influences. Because chances are so did the music you like, at one time.

  13. Noeller
    December 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Devin said: “…There’s a more talented and deeper artist beyond most of the trite songs released to radio…”

    Yep, and he calls himself Eric Church.

  14. Fizz
    December 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    What if they’re borrowing from styles you didn’t like to begin with? Is it okay to knock it then? Like how every other country song on the radio is a twanged-up version of something you can hear at the dentist’s office on the “lite-rock” station?

  15. Matt Bjorke
    December 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Really, Noeller?

    Does that mean Aldean’s nothing but a warmed-over Eric Chruch? The funny thin is that some fans would consider the opposite to be true.

  16. Savrola
    December 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    When the news came that Aldean was covering an ‘underground’ artist from immediately looked up Brantley Gilbert.
    Seems he’s an Athens native, and compared to the rest of the rest of the scene, as largely listed southernshelter.com, his work is rather pathetic.

    Blasting guitars, a good artist does not make, in any genre.

  17. Noeller
    December 6, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    @Matt — virtually EVERYONE thinks the opposite is true. But they’re also wrong. Aldean wishes he could write like Church.

  18. Matt Bjorke
    December 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Noeller,

    Aldean probably does wish he could write like Church. Then again, given his success with Nashville songwriter songs, he doesn’t have to.

  19. Noeller
    December 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Yep, when you’re willing to sell your soul to be successful, you don’t really have to worry too much about your writing ability. Oh well — different strokes, I suppose. I’ll stick with my Church/Ruttan/Beavers songwriting clique.

  20. Devin
    December 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    @Savrola I know you just looked him up, but you know very little about Brantley Gilbert. As a student in Athens, I’ve been a fan of BG for a while now. There’s the songs that he’s most famous for, like My Kinda Party and GRITS, but those are not indicative as him as an artist; that’s just what the mainstream wants to pick up. He’s not traditional country by any means, and he doesn’t claim to be, but if you ignore the 5 or 6 loud songs, the vast majority of his songs are acoustic, toned down, and meaningful songs. I would encourage people to check out things like Modern Day Prodigal Son, Picture on the Dashboard, and Saving Amy among others. I understand where you would get that first impression of him as an artist, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. His sincere songwriter side far outweighs the loud badass side.

  21. Kyle
    December 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised by a few songs here. This is a pick-a-few-songs-to-download-on-itunes album, rather than buy the whole thing.

    Aldean’s vocals are as good as they’ve ever been – he’s getting good at squeezing every ounce out of every syllable, kind of like ~2000ish Tim McGraw would. It’s too bad he covered so many Brantley Gilbert songs though. Teenage girls love the guy, but honestly, to me, he’s just bad redneck rock.

    “Church Pew” is the obvious best song, but I also have to admit I love “Just Passing Through” as a guilty pleasure. It’s nothing special lyrically, but it’s just got a really sexy groove and great harmonies in the chorus. I also think “See You When I See You” is pretty well done.

    Is it just me, or is this verse melody from “Country Boy’s World” lifted directly from “Live Like You Were Dying”?

  22. Cody
    December 7, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I think Fly Over States and Church Pew are the best songs on the album. Fly Over States is one of my favorite aldean songs, along with lonesome usa.

  23. Monica
    December 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Juli, if this album and these songs are so bad, why don’t you quit writing garbage reveiws, like you’re doing now, and write Aldean’s next album? I’m sure you could top the no good “country boy’s world” easily. and, no idiot, the song doesn’t sound like it’s lifted from “Live Like you Were Dying” Get a life people :)

  24. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Classy.

  25. stormy
    December 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I don’t know. I would kind of like to hear Aldean try to sing prose. It couldn’t be worse than this.

  26. Fizz
    December 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Monica, that phone number Jason Aldean gave you as he was tossing you out of his hotel room? It’s probably a fake. Just lettin’ ya know.

  27. Jon
    December 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Classy.

  28. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    LOL @Fizz. Outstanding work.

  29. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Yeah…because it’s outstanding to insinuate that a big fan is a loose groupie.

  30. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Hey, you make a comment that stupid, you deserve to get that kinda shot taken at you. If we want people to stop posting stupid things, we need to train them with negative reinforcement.

    Cough.

  31. Adriana
    December 7, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Aldean should stick to his own music – he was a mess last night. I had to turn it off.

  32. Jon
    December 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Wow, watching people trying to use their taste in music as a way of boosting their self-esteem sure can get tiresome.

  33. Barry Mazor
    December 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Why do people who don’t want to read reviews review the reviews with reviews other people don’t want to read on a site with reviews?

    I’m trying to review that.

  34. Fizz
    December 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Yeah, Jon, it must be tiresome boosting your own self-esteem by correcting everyone who has an opinion–ANY opinion–that’s not as irrefutable as Newton’s Law.

  35. Cybus
    December 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I have Aldean’s first three CDs and enjoy them all. I haven’t bought this one yet, but have listened to the full CD on Youtube. I’ve only listened to it once completely, so no room for deep comments thus far.

    “Heartache that don’t stop hurting” is the stand out track to me. I’m drawn to ballad style songs in the first place and I tend to like Aldean’s slower songs. “Laughed Until We Cried” was the song that turned me into a fan of his, after all.

    “Church Pew or Bar Stool” is getting a lot of love here, but it reminds me too much of Tim McGraw’s “Drugs or Jesus”, which I think is much superior. don’t know how legitimate of a comparison that is to make, but that’s what it reminds me of when I hear it.

    I like Colt Ford’s “Dirt Road Anthem” a lot, but really do hate Aldean’s version of the song. It’s like Aldean’s is the demo version that is sampled around and Ford’s version is the recorded version that people actually get to hear. :-/

    “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson is also a good track, but I don’t know how much love a song with Kelly Clarkson would get around here.

    Overall, I think this is a good CD. I enjoy it. If you don’t like Alean’s version of country music, then you were never going to like this CD to begin with. I like Aldean’s country rock (even the songs that get hated around here), so I’ll be picking this CD up soon.

  36. Troy
    December 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Country boys world is extra annoying for me because I live in that extoic lands of south Jersey where there is bunch of farm land and you can do basically everything he is singing about.

  37. DAN
    December 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    To Kyle, who wishes there weren’t “so many Brantley Gilbert songs.” Don’t you know anything about this album? Apparently not, so just to let you know, Jason only covered two of his songs, the title track and “Dirt Road Anthem.” The other thirteen songs are originals, so criticizing the album for having too many covers doesn’t really make much sense.

  38. Tyler
    December 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Country music is much more broad these days as many other artists have demonstrated… but beyond the loud guitars are some clever and catchy melodies and lyrics… “Fly Over States” is my favorite song on this album :)

  39. buddy
    February 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    the song country boys world sounds exactly like live like u were dying when it started i wanted to sing tim mcgraw not jason aldean but i do like the album

  40. Trinitie
    April 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Every song Jason Aldean sings is wonderful! Keep up the good work(:

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