Album Review: Jason Aldean’s ‘Rearview Town’
Jason Aldean will release his eighth studio album Rearview Town on Friday (April 13) and the 15-track project continues to showcase the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year’s staying power. An album Aldean says is about putting things behind you and looking ahead, Rearview Town amps up the production value with plenty of country-rock arena anthems he’s known for as well as showcases the singer’s vulnerabilities.
“When you look at my career and the personal experiences I’ve gone through, it really seemed like a fitting title for this record and it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever recorded,” Aldean says. “It was important to me to pick songs that have substance to them, I’m more conscious of that these days.”
The album kicks off with an immediate punch of guitars on the energetic “Dirt to Dust.” A familiar sound for Aldean, the track is perfect for his live show. The vigor continues on “Set It Off” and “Blacktop Gone,” both easy to envision in an arena setting. On “Gettin’ Warmed Up,” Aldean shares his rap skills with the listener during an interlude that includes rapid fire lyrics bound to get fans on their feet during his upcoming High Noon Neon Tour.
While much of Rearview Town encompasses big guitars and slick production, Aldean also shows he’s not scared of the emotive ballads. The sultry “Girl Like You,” introspective “Better At Being Who I Am,” and standout “Drowns the Whiskey” featuring Miranda Lambert, all showcase Aldean’s more serious side. On the latter, penned by Brandon Kinney, Jeff Middleton and Josh Thompson, Aldean sings of trying to drown the memory of an ex with alcohol.
“The thing that really gets me is whiskey is supposed to drown the memory / I’ve gone from one to one too many / And the thing that really gets me is how your memory drowns the whiskey,” Aldean and Lambert harmonize on the chorus.
Album highlights include the title track, where Aldean laments of a town he’s trying to get away from following heartbreak. “It ain’t nothin’ like it used to be… On the other side of that dust cloud ain’t nothin’ but a rearview town,” he sings.
Current single “You Make It Easy,” which Aldean says is his wife’s favorite song on the project, is a likely contender to becoming the singer’s 20th chart topper. Co-written by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley with Jordan Schmidt and Morgan Wallen, the song highlights Aldean’s vulnerabilities with a distinct soulfulness and throwback flavor previously unheard from the singer.
While Aldean was in the writing room ahead of the album’s recording, none of the tracks he wrote appear on the project. Released six months after the Route 91 Harvest tragedy, Aldean doesn’t touch upon the shooting in his music. As he previously explained to press, he didn’t feel he needed to go back into the studio and put an exclamation mark on the record for what happened in Las Vegas. Instead, he will dedicate the album as a whole to the 58 lives lost and the victims of the festival.
A versatile release, Aldean’s Rearview Town highlights the Georgia native’s strength when it comes to arena-ready rockers heard in the live setting. Throughout the 15 tracks, the singer also demonstrates his ability to blend multiple genres all while putting his distinct stamp on every song.