Release Date: Sep 30, 2014
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Country, Contemporary Country, New Traditionalist, Neo-Traditionalist Country, Country-Pop
There was a sense that Blake Shelton needed to prove he was still country on 2013's Based on a True Story, the first album he recorded after turning into a television superstar thanks to his starring role on The Voice. Despite the macho boasts of "Boys Round Here" -- the record's biggest hit -- the songs from True Story that charted were largely ballads, which may be the reason why the album's quick follow-up, Bringing Back the Sunshine, relies on sweetness, not swagger. Underneath the gloss, there are remnants of redneck rhetoric -- drinks mixed in Sonic cups, a reliance on a corny backwoods growl on "Buzzin'" -- but they're just the accent, not the foundation.
Thanks to The Voice, country star Blake Shelton has enjoyed massive fame beyond Nashville without messing much with his straight-ahead sound. A decade-plus in, he's still the same likable good ol' bro – the kind of dude who can sing about "workin' on that twerkin'" without totally embarrassing himself ("Buzzin'"), then turn around and offer a moving image of listening to country radio with his dad back in rural Oklahoma ("Good Country Song"). Most of all, though, Bringing Back the Sunshine brims with horn-dog hookup jams like "Sangria," where he makes a sloppy hotel-room encounter sound like the modern equivalent of a trip to Margaritaville.
On his previous outing Based on a True Story, Blake Shelton delivered a polished slab of “bro country” that celebrated what it was, and sounded far more appealing because it did. Country purists can argue for days over what is or isn’t real country music. Based on a True Story was refreshing because Shelton knew exactly what he was doing and never pretended to be singing anything but that certain flavor of country that is very much in vogue right now.