16 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The discography that Jason Aldean has built since the mid-aughts reflects a distinctly modern country-music mindset; it's more important to him to remain a reliable arena rocker than mess with radical reinvention. From his very first recordings, the Georgia-bred superstar has stuck with his longtime producer Michael Knox and his core backing band, merging hard country with metal muscle, minus any theatrics. Aldean’s fourth album, 2010’s My Kinda Party, featured beats invoking old-school hip-hop influence, something that’s become a consistent element in his music, as it has for many current country hitmakers. On his new album—titled 9, both for where it falls in the chronology and for the number he wore on the baseball jerseys of his youth—he sounds a bit more seasoned working in familiar modes.

The R&B-leaning “Got What I Got” begins with brittle beats, icy effects, and surprisingly supple vocal phrasing before the guitar shredding takes it into power-ballad territory. Aldean tells Apple Music that the song makes him feel “like I'm in an eighth-grade dance, listening to Boyz II Men.” “I Don’t Drink Anymore” combines similar sonic elements with plangent steel guitar. During “Tattoos and Tequila,” his singing is clenched with angst against an aggressive guitar attack, and the riffs are equally blistering on the swaggering “We Back”—one of the final songs to make the cut. "We had ballads, we had midtempos, we had these cool things, but we didn't have that just straight-down-your-throat rock ’n’ roll thing," Aldean tells Apple Music. "And here it was, and it was like, 'Okay, that's it. Album's done.'"

EDITORS’ NOTES

The discography that Jason Aldean has built since the mid-aughts reflects a distinctly modern country-music mindset; it's more important to him to remain a reliable arena rocker than mess with radical reinvention. From his very first recordings, the Georgia-bred superstar has stuck with his longtime producer Michael Knox and his core backing band, merging hard country with metal muscle, minus any theatrics. Aldean’s fourth album, 2010’s My Kinda Party, featured beats invoking old-school hip-hop influence, something that’s become a consistent element in his music, as it has for many current country hitmakers. On his new album—titled 9, both for where it falls in the chronology and for the number he wore on the baseball jerseys of his youth—he sounds a bit more seasoned working in familiar modes.

The R&B-leaning “Got What I Got” begins with brittle beats, icy effects, and surprisingly supple vocal phrasing before the guitar shredding takes it into power-ballad territory. Aldean tells Apple Music that the song makes him feel “like I'm in an eighth-grade dance, listening to Boyz II Men.” “I Don’t Drink Anymore” combines similar sonic elements with plangent steel guitar. During “Tattoos and Tequila,” his singing is clenched with angst against an aggressive guitar attack, and the riffs are equally blistering on the swaggering “We Back”—one of the final songs to make the cut. "We had ballads, we had midtempos, we had these cool things, but we didn't have that just straight-down-your-throat rock ’n’ roll thing," Aldean tells Apple Music. "And here it was, and it was like, 'Okay, that's it. Album's done.'"

TITLE TIME

More By Jason Aldean