20th November 2020 is indeed a date many country music fans have been longing for: the genre’s legend Garth Brooks was scheduled to release his 16th studio album on that day – the long-player is simply called Fun – let’s see if the name is in line with the product.
Garth Brooks – About The Artist
Troyal Garth Brooks was born on 7th February 1962 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was one of the pioneers in mixing pop and rock elements to country music. There are many ways to illustrate that it is impossible to give a good bio about him in the short space available by a Flyctory.com album review – but him being the only artist who has achieved diamond status in the US with nine different albums is one of them. He won 49 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards, two Grammys, nine People’s Choice Awards and many more. He has been inducted to the Country Music, the Songwriters and the Musicians Hall of Fame and has sold 170 million records worldwide. His awesome worldwide career is maybe illustrated by the fact that his greatest hits album The Ultimate Hits even went Number 1 in the German album charts. He officially retired / went on hiatus in 2005, at least until his daughter finished high school. He came back in 2014. Fun is his fourth post-retirement studio album and the fourteenth studio album overall.
Garth Brooks – Fun – Track by Track
The album includes 14 songs and lasts 49 minutes. As Garth Brooks is just collaborating with very limited music platforms, I could not add YouTube videos to the review.
1. The Road I’m On
That old white line is crooked as were rollin’ down this highway
The windmills to the cotton fields, it’s all goin’ my way
Each town is new name each night is a home game
United, in love for a song – no it don’t get no better, than this road I’m on
The album starts with a nice song for the road. Garth Brooks delivers the tunes which just perfectly match the lyrics. Well done starter.
2. That’s What Cowboys Do
The second song of the album is very traditional country sound with strong steel guitars and a rhythm just perfect to ride towards sunset just like in a kitschy cowboy music – That’s What Cowboys Do.
3. All Day Long
Somebody’s gotta feed that jukebox
Somebody’s gotta drink that beer
Somebody’s gotta get all rowdy
And raise some hell in here
Somebody’s gotta dance with the women
Spin ’em to a country song
I can do this night life all day long
Country party made by Garth Brooks. Even through the instrumentation feels quite traditional, the song is just catchy. This guy knows how to do.
4. Shallow (feat. Trisha Yearwood)
Already in April 2019, I wrote a posting about what I called Shallow-ism – the inflationary covering of the magical song by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. One day before Fun, Garth Brooks must have suggested to his wife Trisha Yearwood to do a duet – and as they did not have a better idea, they went for that song as well. Bad choice – many did better than these two in my point of view. Especially the bridge with the powerful female vocals feels vapid. Bad luck.
5. Dive Bar (feat. Blake Shelton)
When young people in a Western movie would choose to dance in the saloon and have a touch of a rebellion against their parents – Dive Bar is likely the perfect sound to move your boots over the floor. The song feels traditional at first sight – but then, it is so modern as well. Garth Brooks is simply Fun.
In a couple of Fun songs, Garth Brooks approaches genres very different from country. Amen is one of these songs. The verses feels like a Elton John track (maybe rather on his Greatest Hits IV than one of his top hits…) – on top of that, the song comes with a strong gospel touch, especially towards the end. Electrifying!
7. The Courage Of Love
The Courage of Love feels like a 1990’s rock ballad to me. After Shallow, it is the second song on fun I struggle with. Garth Brooks indeed is very powerful in this song, but overall, it does not come with too many characteristic and catching elements.
8. I Can Be Me With You
This song is also quite a departure from country and rather feels like a happy pop track. Not too badly done – so that there is at least quite some Fun in it.
9. Message In A Bottle
Message in A Bottle reminds me of summer, sunshine, reggae. Thus, it definitely feels like a Fun track. Very catching.
10. Stronger Than Me
And here and now and then she just wants me to hold her
Oh but that don’t mean she’s weak
The way she’s unafraid to let her feelings show
Just means she’s stronger than me
Stronger Than Me is a lovely written love track. Brooks creates a very nice atmosphere in this one. Nonetheless, I feel that this song has more potential than Brooks is in fact showing in here.
11. (A Hard Way To Make An) Easy Livin‘
After a couple of tracks, which just come with a very limited country music touch, here is a nice country rocker with a definite sense of Rock’n’Roll. Cool one.
12. Where The Cross Don’t Burn (feat. Charley Pride)
Garth Brooks and Charley Pride – two legends are doing this lovely country ballad. Close your eyes and enjoy this very atmsopheric song.
13. Party Gras (The Mardi Gras Song)
The Party Gras is a powerful piano-fiddle-steel guitar track which just makes you dance. If you want to forget all the fuzz for three minutes, step into the Garth Brooks way of Mardi Gras
14. (Sometimes You’ve Got To Die To) Live Again
The message of (Sometimes You’ve Got To Die To) Live Again might be not too much in line with the positive character of the album – but it is definitely an intense way to finish.
Garth Brooks – Fun – Spotify
As you cannot listen to Garth Brooks on Spotify, there is no preview widget.
Garth Brooks – Fun – My View
Garth Brooks is trying to do some Fun and make us smile in difficult times. Indeed, the album is really entertaining. Sometimes, I feel that Brooks is approaching songs and genres, which are a bit too far beyond his comfort zone – but overall, there are much more moments in this 2020 publication which make us smile rather which leave us with a confused feeling. Really good album, though I feel it is not a top-level production.
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