Jason Aldean follows 2016’s They Don’t Know with Rearview Town, an ambitious 15-track album that’s ultimately about leaving it all behind and looking ahead.
Composed and released amid a period of professional and personal turmoil, the album truly reflects all that Aldean has endured in the past few years. From the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas to the birth of his son, the songwriting reflects these highs and lows.
Whatever the case, Rearview Town shows a more reflective side of the singer-songwriter and proves relatable to listeners.
Lyrically, nearly every cut from the album deals with themes of romance and personal struggles, the most present being alcoholism and lost love. No track embodies each of these themes like “Drowns the Whiskey,” a somber tune that deals with the tendency to turn to intoxication to drown the sorrows that accompany heartbreak. Featuring Miranda Lambert, the vocal contribution adds a nice harmonic pairing to Aldean’s smooth delivery. Another prevailing theme is the prospect of forsaking the past and moving forward, as with the eponymous track “Rearview Town.” In this cut, Aldean contributes to this common theme of the country genre: leaving that small town behind in search of something bigger. “It ain’t nothin’ what it used to be / Population minus me / On the other side of that dust cloud, it ain’t nothin’ but a rearview town,” sings Aldean, illustrating his frustration with stagnant small-town life.
In terms of musicality, Rearview Town offers much diversity in the realm of instrumentation. A particular standout is the guitar work, characterized by heavy, distorted chord progressions and compelling lead breaks. “Love Me or Don’t” best exhibits the variety of guitar work. Each verse contains soft riffs with plenty of pipe slides and reverb that progresses into a punching chorus of power chords and a solo that’ll definitely melt some faces. Combined with the production talents of long-time collaborator Michael Knox, the album is well-mastered and features contemporary production qualities like electronic drum patterns that enhance the overall musicality.
Rearview Town proves a successful entry in Aldean’s catalogue of work and should provide new heights for an artist on a constant rise. It’s an achievement that will satisfy old fans and prove effective in broadening his audience. It’ll also provide the singer with the opportunity to move forward from some personal setbacks in a positive way.