Paisley - 5th Gear
Nightingale, CSO Contributing Journalist
If there is one person who
knows what his fans are doing with their daily lives in
2007 its Brad Paisley.
This is the same guy who
has been nominated for 33 CMA Awards since the year 2000,
played for more than 750,000 fans in 2006 and was named
Top Male Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards
Although he was already
worthy of some great awards, Paisley surely deserves a few
more for his accomplishments on album number five, which
was brilliantly named 5th Gear.
“5th Gear is
something you reach when you’re on a long, good stretch
and you’re really rolling,” Paisley says. “This
album, and this time in my career, feels like that. We are
pushing things further in every way - musically, lyrically
and in our concerts.”
This CD has the traditional
country feel to it and is also full of humor, tenderness,
interesting lyrics and great instrumentals. Paisley can
take credit for many of the clever lyrics since he wrote
10 of the 16 tracks.
“Ticks”, the first single from this album, is what my
best friend calls “a genius song”. I couldn’t
have said it better myself. Paisley takes something
from nature that is unpleasant but unfortunately true and
puts it into the form of an entertaining, whimsical song.
“Working out here on the
farm, I literally have to check for ticks every time I
come in from the woods or the fields,” he said. “Now,
if a young guy who lives in the country were to take a
girl into the woods for any reason, it would totally cross
his mind that she’s going to have to check for ticks
when they come back out. So it seems that an enterprising
guy would at least consider that he could offer to check
“It was a hard song to
write because if you go too far with it, it’s not funny
anymore,” he said, knowing where to draw the line. This
comment, which Paisley initially made about his song
“Ticks,” is true for a few of his other new songs
including “Online”, “I’m Still a Guy”, “Mr.
Policeman” and “Bigger Fish to Fry”. Paisley knows
“if you stay with just the right amount of innuendo and
leave the rest to the imagination, then it works.”
The first time I heard
“Online” I could not believe how realistic and funny
this song is. It describes a guy who creates a
MySpace page that makes him “so much cooler online”. “I’m
Still a Guy” is another tune that will be easily
relatable for many of Paisley’s fans. Although the
entire song is full of great lyrics, I think my favorite
part describes a lot of men. When holding purses for
their girlfriends, most have to hold the purse out, as far
away from them as possible, to make sure everyone knows
it’s not theirs, as if we don’t already know.
“In a weak moment I
might/ walk your sissy dog/ hold your purse at the mall/
but remember I’m still a guy”.
On a softer note this album
includes a tender duet, “Oh Love”, with the talented
Carrie Underwood. Referring to love, it questions how
“you believe you’re the simple truth and you’re the
biggest mystery”. A slow song that begins with a few
sound effects, “If Love Was a Plane”, states that
although we all know our chances are small we continue
trying until we find love.
“It Did,” also in this
same category, illustrates life and how even when someone
thinks “it doesn’t get better than this, it did.”
Following a Kung Pao
Buckaroos skit done by Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens
and Vince Gill, the comedic “Bigger Fish to Fry”
includes vocals by these three as well.
Mistakes” is a more upbeat song than “Letter To Me,”
they both reflect the past and how maybe sometimes people
believe things should have been done a little differently. “With
You, Without You” is a slow, poignant tune about the end
of a relationship. “Throttleneck,” the last track
on the album, is all instrumental but worth listening to.
“I think this album is really a candid snapshot of who I
am and what me and my band can do”, Paisley says. “We
challenged ourselves and I’m really proud of what
I completely understand why
Billboard put Paisley at the top this year and called him
one of five hot headliners, of all music genres, to watch. Whether
they are funny, touching or realistic, Paisley’s lyrics
combine with all of his other talent so powerfully on this
album, making it comparable to a book that is absolutely
too good to put down.
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