It Just Keeps Getting Better
Plastic Salmon | 04/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The fifth issue of the Totally Country series delivers another great set of recent country hits that are frequently broadcast on the radio. Many of these hits were also made into videos that can be seen on country music TV networks.
The album begins with songs by two new female country artists: Miranda Lambert sings a high-energy song about ditching love after it has gone bad in "Kerosene"; Gretchen Wilson warns a female rival about not getting involved with her man, or else, in "Homewrecker". Some fast-paced new style songs include Dierks Bentley's "How Are You Doing", a discussion about how it feels after a broken relationship; Lonestar's "You're Like Comin' Home"; Jason Aldine's "Hicktown", a dance song about old-fashioned country fun; and newcomer Keith Anderson's "XXL", a caricature about an extra large boy as he grows up and experiences adulthood as a very big man. More traditional sounding fast-tempo songs are Sara Evan's "Suds In The Bucket", a story about a country girl growing up and leaving home - to the dismay of her parents; and veteran Craig Morgan's "Redneck Yacht Club", a party song characterized by a banjo and sawing fiddle in the background. A couple of heavy ballads are "Help Somebody" by the duo Van Zant (brothers who are former members of Southern rock groups Lynard Skynard and 38 Special); and "You Do Your Thing" by the Kentucky duo Montgomery Gentry, a song about rugged self-will and self-determination.
Country music blends its sound with hip-hop and rap in "Coming To Your City" by the new duo Big & Rich; and in "I Play Chicken With The Train" by newcomer Cowboy Troy. In the Big & Rich song, a fiddle provides the sign that this is primarily a Country & Western hit rather than traditional hip-hop. The subject matter in the rhythmic Cowboy Troy song gives clear indication that this is also a country song. These two extremely modern songs are balanced on this disc by two very traditional country style songs: Blake Shelton does a remake of Conway Twitty's "Goodbye Time", about a marital breakup; and Ray Scott sings in a baritone reminiscent of the late Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash in "My Kind Of Music". This song could easily be misattributed to Waylon Jennings because of the accompanying music and rhythm.
This album ends with three soft ballads: "It's Getting Better All the Time" by Brooks & Dunn, a description about recovery after a breakup; the poignant "If Heaven" by Andy Griggs; and a story about a disabled boy in "God's Will" by Martina McBride. These last songs balance out the faster, more energetic material in the earlier part of this collection."