Editors’ Notes Kenny Chesney’s wanderlust is no secret to anyone who’s heard his music—his laidback songs have paid tribute to beers in Mexico, lost loves in Los Angeles, and women looking for escape from Boston. On his 17th album, he shows how he’s a musical vagabond as well; he finds inspiration in power balladry, frantic riffing, and honky-tonks, all the while ruminating on the modern condition in a way that adds heft to his mellow country-pop.
Chesney's turn to the serious is not all-out. “Trip Around the Sun” kicks off the record with bright strumming and a que será, será attitude about the world’s seeming implosion, with Chesney drawling that “there ain’t nothin’ we can do about the whole thing anyway,” while “Rich and Miserable” pokes fun at 21st-century materialism over a musical bed that recalls Imagine Dragons and other bastions of 2010s stomp-rock. “Noise” has musical and lyrical gravitas about it, with Chesney chronicling the increased paranoia of the always-on era over a chaotic arrangement.
In the 2000s, hooky country songs became a variation of American stadium rock, and Chesney was one of the standard-bearers of that shift. Cosmic Hallelujah nods to that not only with muscular tracks like “All the Pretty Girls” and the chugging P!nk duet “Setting the World on Fire,” but also by flipping the script on Foreigner’s 1985 hit “I Want to Know What Love Is,” transforming it into a banjo-led rave-up. Chesney is country’s premier traveler, and Cosmic Hallelujah shows why: His anything-goes attitude and musical curiosity can make anywhere feel like home.
Trip Around the Sun
All the Pretty Girls
Setting the World On Fire (with P!nk)
Bar at the End of the World
Some Town Somewhere
Rich and Miserable
Jesus and Elvis
I Want to Know What Love Is
12 Songs, 43 Minutes
October 28, 2016
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