Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Jason Aldean – Rearview Town

Not, as you (your editor) may have feared (absolutely did fear), a butt pun…


Katherine St Asaph: Country continues to sound like alternative rock, and Jason Aldean now sounds like Staind, yarl replaced with twang. Savor the following sentence: Staind is an improvement.

Thomas Inskeep: I love the conceit of a “rearview town,” especially having grown up outside of a not-many-stoplights town of 5,000 in the Midwest. And this has a different tenor to it than most Aldean singles: it’s kinda angry, kinda sad, definitely bitter, and altogether unhappy. It gets in, does its job, and is done within a bracing three minutes. I’m stunned this made it to #1 on the country airplay chart, but glad as well. The best single Aldean’s released in years.

Edward Okulicz: The guitars are nice, dense and foreboding, suggesting some serious country brooding and fury. Jason Aldean’s lyrics, though, suggest weakness — the second verse makes it clear that it’s not really his choice to leave. The performance sides with the lyrics over the guitars.

Isabel Cole: Something about the affect here isn’t working for me. I like well enough the self-indulgent broodingness of the guitar, churning and wailing throughout, and the concept of a dual fuck-you farewell to a home too small and a heart too cold is solid enough; the pointless spite of flipping off a sign resonates. But all the drama feels high on intensity and low on meaning; it doesn’t lean far enough into spite or heartbreak (or go anywhere near the nuance of spite covering heartbreak) to make either of them register.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The repetitious vocal melodies and the self-imposed, confined vocal range makes Aldean sound like he has a lot of pent-up anger. The final chorus isn’t cathartic enough, though. That’s perhaps the point–to express a seething bitterness that hasn’t fully resolved–but “Rearview Town” ends up sounding more tedious than visceral.

Joshua Lu: Jason Aldean’s emotionless delivery guts “Rearview Town,” and he forces its potentially somber depiction of the death of a small town into the backdrop of a vague torch song. Did he only realize this town sucked after he got dumped?

Alfred Soto: The lyrics depicting the detritus of small-town life are nothing special. I’m here for the guitars: a steady rhythm lick and a riff as rueful and pissed as Jason Aldean’s vocal. 

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