Kenny Chesney’s 11th studio disc is another sure hit, said Alison Bonaguro
in the Chicago Tribune. Chesney has been sticking to his tried-and-true formula for years: “a few ballads about counting your blessings, a few up-tempo rockers about hard work, a couple big-name guests, and voilà. Album-of-the-year contender.” Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates plays to Chesney’s strengths as a singer, but leaves him out entirely as songwriter, depending instead on a roster of Nashville hitmakers for tunes and lyrics. Certainly the songs Chesney wrote himself have been highlights of his past albums, said Sarah Rodman in The Boston Globe. But he’s equally proficient at “finding different components of himself in the words and music of others.” As usual, we get glimpses of “fun Kenny,” the shirtless, shoeless, beach-party host, on tracks such as “Go a Little Crazy” and “Wild Ride.” We also spend time with “blue-collar Kenny,” your clock-punching buddy on “Shiftwork.” But as he ages, we’re also seeing a lot more of “mature Kenny,” the guy who’ll tell you about his vices on “Demons” and get nostalgic with a senior citizen on “Don’t Blink.” Introspection is a fairly new angle “from the guy who broke through with a song titled ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,’” said Preston Jones in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But at 39, it’s about time that he put down that margarita and got serious.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The case for voting (even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich)
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Paul Krugman, Amazon, and the left's backwards view of book-industry titans
Subscribe to the Week