Album Reviews


Alan Jackson

Drive  Hear it Now

RS: 3.5of 5 Stars


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Alan Jackson has a lovely, loping voice, like a confident man's walk. His ninth album, Drive, hits all the country cliches with amiable accuracy. There's been no better Nashville tune this year than the title track, a midtempo charmer that carries the singer from memories of Dad's cherished junker to hopes that his own girls will remember their first turns at the wheel. Whether love goes right ("Bring on the Night," "Once in a Lifetime Love"), wrong ("A Little Bluer Than That," "The Sounds") or is just a "Work in Progress," whether he's deep in the bag ("Designated Drinker") or wistful ("First Love," "That'd Be Alright"), the instrumentation is loose-limbed and assured, with the steel guitar playing exclamation point to Jackson's relaxed declaratives. The album features one live and one studio recording of Jackson's September 11th ode, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a song that is everything an "event" song from a country superstar can be: odious, sentimental and, finally, heartbreaking. Jackson presents himself as a gravy-stained average Joe who doesn't know the difference between "Iraq and Iran," but his protestations of ignorance give way to unexpectedly gimlet-sharp probings. It's hard to scoff when he asks, Were you "teaching a class full of innocent children?" - why, yes, I was, and damn you, Alan Jackson, for not letting us forget.


(Posted: Feb 19, 2002)


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