I’m interested in the way time transforms opinions. Looking back on top ten lists from previous years, it’s funny to see which films or albums went from cream of the crop to afterthought, and which lower-ranked works wound up as future favorites.
Sometimes a work makes a strong initial impression but I’m never moved to experience it again, so it fades. Perhaps if I did revisit it my original opinion would be renewed, but the fact that I don’t really want to probably means something.
Brad Paisley tends to put at least one rip-roaring ass-kicker of a song on every album — the sort of instrumental throwdown that ensures all of the players will have blisters on their fingers.
On his best album, 2009’s American Saturday Night, that song is ‘Catch All the Fish,’ an anthem for every beer-drinking fisherman in the world (which is probably all of them).
American Saturday Night is so chock full of good songs that I could dedicate the next four weekends to it and not hit all of the highlights.
I could pair up the jack-rabbit guitar workout of the hilarious ‘Catch All the Fish’ with the delicate ballad ‘Anything Like Me,’ in which Paisley imagines all the trouble his young son will get into over the years if he takes after his old man.
Certainly I should find room to highlight ‘The Pants,’ in which Paisley exposes macho chauvinists the world over as the helpless babies they really are. Or the title song, a celebration of our melting pot, with its wonderful audience shout-along moment (“Little Italy, Chinatown, sittin’ there side by side… live from New York, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!”) that makes you think every time you hear it how great Paisley must be in concert.
Brad Paisley followed his instrumental album, Play, with the finest release of his career (to date), 2009’s American Saturday Night. This is the album that originally brought Paisley to my attention.
After seeing both Time magazine and Slate.com rank American Saturday Night as the best album of the year — of any genre — I figured I had to give it a try. I was hooked instantly.
As the theory goes, the album that introduces you to a favorite artist tends to be your favorite of his albums. That’s certainly the case here, and there is no better introduction to Brad Paisley than American Saturday Night.
Today’s song, a slow beauty from the back half of Brad Paisley’s wonderful American Saturday Night, falls into a category I like to call “Dead or Dumped?”
The lyrics are sufficiently vague and the tone sufficiently somber to support the theory that the woman Paisley is singing about left him not by choice but because she dropped dead.
I’ve encountered other songs with a similar make-up, though I can’t for the life of me think of any of them right now. If you can, please add them to the comments.
And now the third reason I totally dig Mr. Kimberly Williams: Brad Paisley is romantic.
And I mean very romantic. His albums are generally split between three kinds of songs… the funny songs, the heartbreak songs and the love songs. I wouldn’t say he’s any better at one group than the others — he’s great at them all — but he comes across as particularly sincere in the love songs.
I imagine that’s because he’s still in the extended honeymoon phase of his marriage, together seven years with two young children, and because Kimberly Williams — in addition to being extremely cute — seems like a very cool person. I shamefully admit to reading her Twitter feed in preparation for this blog entry.
Best Songs of 2009 – #1
Brad Paisley was my most welcome surprise of 2009. I lucked into purchasing his album after reading a discussion among music critics on Slate.com in which the first critic named his album American Saturday Night as her favorite of the year and effusively sang his praises.
This was the rare album that struck me as great the very first time I heard it… the album wasn’t even over before I knew it was rocketing up my own list. Many listens later, it settled into its perch at #1. I picked up another of Paisley’s celebrated discs, Time Well Wasted, a week later and I find it equally good.