It could be argued that there aren’t that many artists around that are able to maintain their high standards through several albums, but if 9 is anything to go by, Jason Aldean is most certainly one of them.
Opening track ‘Tattoos and Tequila’ pretty much sets the albums’ standards and gives those who hear it a taste of what to expect from the collection as a whole. The lyrics are quite heavy, addressing a man and a woman and how, through both items mentioned in the title of the song, he remembers and forgets her and it’s this heaviness, together with the musicianship that makes this track worthy of several repeat listens.
‘Blame It On You’ a somewhat calmer, more ‘perspective’ like ballad, follows and the next few tracks, notably ‘Some Things You Don’t Forget’ and ‘Got What I Got’ play their part in keeping the albums’ story flowing and the listener hooked. As someone who grew up with a guitar playing father, the instrumentation in ‘Keeping It Small Town’ was the first thing about the track that caught my attention – and it’s almost sure to make others sit up and take note too. The song itself is quite lyrically simplistic but such lyrics and a simple melody work in perfect harmony to make it extremely memorable – and that’s without taking into account the electric sounding guitar riffs that mix things up a bit.
If you’re at all familiar with Jason’s previous releases, you’ll be aware that drinking plays a part, somewhere, in or on many of them and 9 is no exception however, in this case, in, ‘Came Here To Drink’, the listener isn’t presented with the usual story of how someone wants pour their heart out to anyone who will listen while downing glass after glass of their favourite tipple. Instead, the protagonist of this tale we learn simply did and does what the song title says. No tears, no wallowing, just a drink – or several. The song has a mature, almost dark tone to it, and it becomes clear from the lyrics alone that this man is struggling – it’s a moment and event that many I’m sure can and will relate to. That’s what makes the song powerful.
Anyone looking for a typically country sounding song will find it in ‘I Don’t Drink Anymore’. It’s almost slow drawl and twang makes it ideal for those after a country ballad, but lyrically, it works for anyone who has ever found themselves with someone who wants them to change something, or perhaps everything, about who they are, and refused to do so. It’s almost an anthem of sorts to self-acceptance and the truth that if anyone doesn’t accept or like you for who you are, then it’s THEIR problem, not yours.
‘Talk About Georgia’ comes across as perhaps the most personal of the tracks on this album, and was also co-written by two of Aldean’s band members. It plays a diary entry, or a letter, about life and experiences away from home – what it’s like to hit up a new town every night, and the memories those places leave and have left them with. Aldean clearly has a special connection to Georgia, and his reflections come across superbly on the track, which takes the listener along for the ride.
‘The Same Way’ is sure to go down an absolute storm at Aldean’s future shows. It’s an anthem in every sense of the word and just calls for everyone who hears it to join in pumping their fists in the air (just don’t do it while driving, obviously) as the lyrics hit home the message that country music – and it could be argued music in general – unites people; there is no differentiating between one music fan and another. The world needs more songs like this.
9 is not just a great album, perhaps even a contender for a top 5 of 2019, but a testament to Aldean’s longevity and success. Many artists fall by the wayside and lose their magic after a few records, but on the back of this, it’s clear Aldean’s magic is only ever getting stronger.