I don’t mean this blog to be critical of other writers, but I feel I the need to address a recent review which lambastes Brad Paisley’s latest single release, “Water,” from his highly acclaimed American Saturday Night album. My peers at the9513, one of the internet’s most popular country blogs, are usually dead-on with their song and album reviews. As obvious country purists, I can relate to their appreciation of the neo-traditional and outlaw movement that is so important to this genre nowadays, but sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective when you become so convinced that there is only one way country music can elicit an emotional reaction. Yes, singing about deep, personal issues, love and loss will stir any listeners soul, but there’s also room for songs that appreciate the simple moments in life, the ones where we aren’t wrestling with our demons or dealing with a lost love.
Brad Paisley’s “Water” is by no means an emotional masterpiece, it does not explore new ground, and quite frankly, it’s not even in the top three most memorable songs from his latest album. But “Water” can still stir an emotional response. It’s about the simple joy of summer time, of hanging with your buddies by the lake, about kicking back with a few beers in the sunshine. It’s a song that makes you feel content when your driving with the windows down during the summer, cranking up the country tunes and just appreciating the simple things in life. Sometimes country critics get too caught up in what they are supposed to criticize, rather than remembering that a song does not have to be “deep” to be emotionally provocative. I don’t imagine I’ll usually be this harsh, but this really got to me. More examples on this to come. For now, I’m out.