Since the release of They Don’t Know in 2016, Country superstar Jason Aldean had his life turned upside down when a mass shooting took place during his set at Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip in October 2017. Aldean was able to get off the stage without being injured but the shock of the situation left him understandably very shaken. 6 months on from that and Aldean is returning to music with the release of his eighth studio album Rearview Town, a collection that was recorded prior to the Route 91 Harvest festival.
If you were expecting Aldean to reflect the trauma that he endured last year, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rearview Town is very much business as usual for the Country juggernaut and it’s a collection of mostly uptempo made-for-arena style songs that he’s built his career on. Lead single You Make It Easy, co-written by Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line, suggested that Aldean may be pushing outside of his comfort zone but sadly that doesn’t really seem to be the case here.
Opening track Dirt to Dust is the kind of Country/rock hybrid that Aldean has been pedalling for a long time now. It sounds familiar and for his fanbase it will hit the mark. The tracks quickly start to blend into one, featuring a similar sound. There’s definitely an argument for ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but the samey vibe becomes too much on a 15-track record. Gettin’ Warmed Up sees Aldean attempting to rap and he doesn’t really manage to pull it off.
You Make It Easy is one of the best tracks on the record, mostly because it’s different and the bluesier sound really suits Aldean. Another standout moment is Drowns the Whiskey with Miranda Lambert. The two singers work well together and sonically it’s a breather from the full throttle arena sound that dominates too much of the record.
Elsewhere on the album Like You Were Mine is a catchy radio-friendly moment, Ride All Night incorporates R&B beats alongside a banjo riff, and closing track High Noon Neon, which is the name of his headline tour, ends the record on a surprisingly mid-tempo note.
There’s no denying that Jason Aldean is good at what he does. After all you don’t become one of the biggest stars, of any genre, by accident but I’d really hoped that Rearview Town would be a progression rather than a continuation of what the star has been recording for years. There are moments on here that show promise beyond what we’ve already heard but those are few and far between. Rearview Town is a solid record but it’s almost indistinguishable from every other album he’s put out.
Track list: 1. Dirt to Dust 2. Set It Off 3. Girl Like You 4. You Make it Easy 5. Gettin’ Warmed Up 6. Blacktop Gone 7. Drowns the Whiskey (featuring Miranda Lambert) 8. Rearview Town 9. Love Me or Don’t 10. Like You Were Mine 11. Better at Being Who I Am 12. I’ll Wait For You 13. Ride All Night 14. Up in Smoke 15. High Noon Neon Record label: Sony Music Release date: 13th April 2018