Posted April 1, 2013
By BRITTANY WEINER
It is not likely these days that an artist stays true to his or her roots.
Think Taylor Swift, deviating from country and producing an entire pop record or Lil’ Wayne crossing over from rap to the likes of soulful R&B ballads. Switching between genres is tricky— is the singer exhibiting and endless amount of talent or merely not confident enough to stay true to one singular style?
One artist who does stay true to his soulful roots, and has never deviated from country is Tim McGraw. Never has he wavered in his ability to produce ballads and upbeat country music that has sold out stadiums and shows during the past decade. Never has he been scooped up by the fake vocals and voice-overs of pop music.
His albums and singles have been topping country music charts ever since his breakout song, “Don’t Take the Girl,” which put him on the country music radar. His second album became the best-selling country album in 1994, and since then he has not stopped. He has had 11 consecutive albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboards Album charts.
So, it safe to say that newest album, “Two Lanes of Freedom” will most likely end up on the top of country music charts as well.
McGraw exhibits an unbelievable power in his newest album. The songs switch between uplifting lyrics and upbeat background music to more mellow songs that make you feel like you are sitting at a bar, and watching McGraw wrestle with lyrics with whiskey in one hand and a guitar in the other.
The first track on the album, “Two Lanes of Freedom” ushers in the rest of the music; the entire album is extremely inspiring, but also has a storytelling factor to it. Southern girls, late, nights, and heartbreak make up most of the tracks, but McGraw has the country music knack that makes his work go well beyond the country music cliché. The power of his voice alone detracts from the ever-so-popular country lyricism.
The song starts off extremely instrumental with sounds of a guitar and makes you feel like you want to jump in the back of McGraw’s pickup truck. It’s liberating to say the least. With words like — “Just swaying trees/your hair in the breeze/and that smile/ I know god made old country roads for driving and dreaming” — who wouldn’t feel liberated?
The album then switches to a softer tone and slower-paced rhythm to appease his more soulful fans. “One of Those Nights,” the second song on the track, begins with the electric sounds of the guitar and has more of a storytelling component to it. With lyrics like — “Someday you’ll be looking back on your life/at the memories/this is gonna be one of those nights” — nostalgia automatically sets in.
But one of the truest country gems on this album is the fourth track. What would a country album be without the specific description of a southern girl? McGraw modernizes this song however with unbelievably catchy bridge in the song, but he makes use of a voice-over in a way that propels the lyrics — “Southern girls rock my world/Hazel eyes and golden curls/Put on a country song/ We’ll dance all night long.”
And just when McGraw has you wishing you were his own southern girl, he gets down and dirty with the track “Truck Yeah.” His voice switches from the sweet serenading town to a deeper country voice with more aggressive lyrics. It’s a gritty song that displays his true talent: how he can switch from the sweet voiced country stud to an all the more dark and deeper voiced macho.
McGraw does not let fans down with this album. As the years go on, his voice matures, and his true songwriting ability is even moreso displayed as he gains more life experiences. Who wouldn’t want to listen to McGraw’s tracks singing about heartbreak? That Faith Hill is one lucky gal.
- Title: “Two Lanes of Freedom”
- Artist: Tim McGraw
- Tracks: 15
- Prices: Prices range from $11.88- $15.99 depending on edition
- Other artists performing on album: Taylor Swift
- Album release: Feb. 5, 2013
- Produced by: Big Machine Records
- Availability: Amazon, all record stores, available for download on iTunes