Always Never the Same
Led by “Write This Down,” one of his catchiest and most popular songs, Always Never the Same finds George Strait striking the perfect balance between the Nashville pop radio listeners demand, and the traditional country Strait has always championed. An orchestral string section adds drama to the romantic testimonials of “Meanwhile,” “That’s the Truth,” and “That’s Where I Wanna Take Our Love,” but Strait’s wizened tenor always keeps the songs sincere and unpretentious. “Peace of Mind” revels in the freedom of open highway, incorporating in equal measure the swift picking of bluegrass and the smoothed-out rhythms of the Eagles. On the other hand, “What Do You Say to That” is a gentle folk song that shows Strait has as much respect for James Taylor as he does George Jones. Always Never the Same might be Strait’s most faithful and romantically optimistic collection of songs, but “4 Minus 3 Equals Zero” ends the bliss with a heartrending tale of a family splitting up. Strait is known for his even outlook, and this album once again proves that in his view heartbreak and love always travel in tandem.