Album Review: Joe Nichols’ ‘Never Gets Old’
By mixing contemporary themes with traditional sounds, Joe Nichols stays true to his roots upon the release of his ninth studio album, Never Gets Old. The 12-track project is relatable and reflective as his smooth, baritone voice draws listeners in and the story-telling lyrics keep them entertained.
Best described as an easy-listening album, Nichols relies on catchy melodies and familiar topics for his latest project that long-time fans will find were worth the four-year wait. The Arkansas-native plays it safe on 11 out of the 12 tracks, throwing caution to the wind with track No. 12, a countrified version of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” that features comedian Darren Knight.
The title track, penned by Steve Moakler and Connie Harrington, offers nostalgia with a sweet sentiment – the love he experiences may be repetitive but that doesn’t mean it gets old. “Sometimes it feels like a broken record/But baby you never do,” Nichols croons, a line that much like the song, will never get old.
Nichols cuts deep in “We All Carry Something,” a track that tells of the various human experiences but concluding that what we experience shapes who we are, but no matter how bad it gets, you’re not going through it alone. “This Side of the River” is another story-song about life, appreciating it for what it is and being thankful for every minute of it.
“I’d Sing About You” stands out on the record with its simple lyrics and steel-filled melodies. The track is begging to be turned into a sing-along during his live show. The sultry “Breathless” could make even the hardest of hearts swoon and want more. It takes a different spin on the negative idea of leaving someone in a relationship, and turns it into a positive arrangement. “It’s so easy to slip out of touch/So that’s it girl I’ve had enough/I know you want me to/So tonight I’m leaving you/I’m leaving you breathless/Biting your lip/Leave you hanging on the heat of the next kiss.”
A couple of tunes on Never Gets Old may sound familiar to seasoned country music fans. Nichols reinvents the light-hearted song “Diamonds Makes Babies,” co-written by Chris Stapleton, Jim Beavers and Lee Thomas Miller and previously recorded by Dierks Bentley on his sixth studio album, Home. “Billy Graham’s Bible” is also recognizable, as Nichols released that track on his most recent 2013 album, Crickets.
Throughout Never Gets Old, Nichols proves why he has stayed a prominent name in country music for so long. His desire to stay relevant while staying true to his traditional country identity makes for a perfect contemporary blend of country sounds. Fans both new and old will distinguish the classic sound and country radio will be delivered a new supply of fresh tracks that their listeners are guaranteed to turn their volume dial up to.