Songs About Me
Trace Adkins’ seventh album is bookended by two big-banner country anthems, “Songs About Me” and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” These songs fit in easily alongside Toby Keith, whose mix of machismo, Southern rock grit, and a pinch of roadhouse vulgarity became one of country music’s most popular recipes in the mid-‘00s. While Adkins’ growl is well-suited to such material, Songs About Me is more complex than its hits might suggest. In just three verses, “Metropolis” sketches one man’s lifelong relationship to his run-down hometown; with a few carefully worded phrases, Adkins makes us understand exactly why the man left, and exactly why he returns. Mainstream producer Dan Huff oversaw “I Learned How To Love from You,” a sentimental string-laden ballad that is turned into a sincere expression of gratitude by Adkins’ undiluted singing style. Most moving of all is “Arlington,” a bluegrass-tinged wartime ballad in which the patriotism is not contrived, and instead grows out of its unique perspective — it’s told from the point of view of a deceased solider who has been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.