“The truth is I love country music, and I love a great country lyric and a great country melody, and I just want to record a bunch of those songs,” Blake Shelton tells Apple Music. “That's as honest as I can be with you about it.” Shelton makes good on that love for narrative-driven, melodic country music with Body Language, his 12th studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s Texoma Shore. The album opens with “Minimum Wage,” a piano-driven anthem about the kind of love that transcends money. “Corn” is a foot-stomping ode to Shelton’s favorite grain, with an appropriately twang-heavy arrangement. And closer “Bible Verses” shows off Shelton’s serious side with a meditation on spirituality and grace. Shelton tapped longtime producer Scott Hendricks to helm the LP, as well as his fiancée, Gwen Stefani, who joins him on “Happy Anywhere.” Below, Shelton shares insight into several of Body Language’s tracks.
“Minimum Wage” “The number one reason I recorded that song is because I thought how fun it would be to do it live. And one step beyond that is I thought it would be a great show opener, because it's got that super long intro that builds. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can see some fog on the stage, and I come up on one of those stupid elevators, or whatever.’ You have all these little images in your mind of how you're going to do it.”
“Body Language” “For eight years now, since I met The Swon Brothers, we've had this relationship, and they finally sent a song over that was like, ‘Well, I don't think you should put that on your EP, because I actually want that one.’ They had sent it just trying to get feedback, and I was like, ‘Hey, well, tell them the feedback is that I want that thing.’ I really just tried to do the best I could at making my version of that song sound just like what they had created, because they really nailed the track. But they're actually on the record singing all the background, and I wanted it to not just be a cut for them. I wanted to feature them on the record, too. And hopefully they get even more mileage out of that, also.”
“Corn” “I'm in a situation with Craig Wiseman where the record label knows, ‘I don't care what you guys think of it, if Craig Wiseman writes a song and sends it, just send it to me.’ Mostly because I just love to hear his voice on demos. I mean, you know when it's a Craig Wiseman song. I don't know what's going on with him vocally, but it's weird and I love it. But he sent me that song directly because he knows that literally corn is my life. I mean, I eat it, I plant it, I feed it to deer, everything around me is corn. I'm a corny person, I guess.”
“Bible Verses” “That song is so honest and so intense, and so personal in ways when you sing it, because you're going, ‘Oh my god, I'm telling everybody that I'm really not always everything I want to be.’ But I think, if we're being honest as recording artists, as human beings, you got to go there. Sometimes I just feel like I'm never going to measure up to what God expects me to be. And I think we all probably have that moment every now and then.”