Review Summary: A pop overtone mixed with typical lyrics result in Jason Aldean's worst album thus far.
Jason Aldean has gone and done it. He has truly joined that pantheon of "country" acts who abandon a traditional country sound in favor of a more popular and mainstream overtone as a means of staying relevant. There's never a problem with incorporating other genres and influences, as long as the artist stays true to their own established sound. By that standard, other styles are welcome. It's when artists like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line started bailing on the actual genre in favor of mainstream pop. It doesn't take rocket science to see country music is not the enjoyable and impervious genre it once was. With Jason Aldean's sixth full-length studio album, "Old Boots, New Dirt", he really has branched into new territory, for better and definitely for worse.
Where Aldean's respective 2010 and 2012 efforts "My Kinda Party" and "Night Train" succeeded, this record fails. "Night Train" had its share of cringe-worthy tracks. This album, however, capitalizes on that and now Aldean has multiple cringe-worthy songs next to his name. There are strong points on this record and they deserve to be taken into consideration. Opening track "Just Gettin' Started", while a bit clichéd in nature, shows that Aldean does in fact have a solid singing voice. "Show You Off", lyrically has been a bit re-hashed over the years. Upon listening, the song provoked the thought of Rascal Flatts' 2002 single "Love You Out Loud." Aldean sings of wanting to show his lover off and showing just how lucky he is. These themes are genuine and relatable, there's no doubt in that. It's when these themes get recycled and beaten like a dead horse, that the flair and interest starts to go away.
Aside from the tracks that open the album, both of which are enjoyable enough, then we get to the other side of the spectrum, and that's where Aldean starts to really plunge this record into the ground. "Burnin' It Down" is just downright awful and arguably the worst song to Aldean's merit. His vocals are terrible and at their worst, and this pop overtone completely prevents it from attaining the musical dignity it could have garnered for itself. "Tonight Looks Good On You plays like a track that's going to make a splash on country radio, which it did. Though it's just another radio-friendly track that provokes the thought of a significant other.
The album in general greatly suffers from its mainstream nature and inconsistency. Truly a shame. Aldean has a chance to right the ship next time around. But until then, we're stuck with nothing but the shattered remnants of his once unique sound.