Release Date: 02.03.04
Record label: BNA Records
Genre(s): Trance, Big Beat, Ambient, House, Trip-Hop, etc.
Uncle Kenny Explains It All For You
by: matt cibula
Rule A: This is a very easy world to get along in.
Main evidence: When the Sun Goes Down, the big #1 hit single from this album, wherein Kenny Chesney and his duet partner Uncle Kracker explain that night time is cool because that's when you get laid. This song is pretty notable for combining Hawaiian thingies with steel drums, and for being completely unmemorable apart from the chorus, and for Kracker's "ad-libs" about how "sexy" he is and how "Uncle Kenny's hotter when the sun goes down." HUGE hit, can't remember any of the verses at all, I hate songs like this but it's so likable! Kinda like "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems," except with Uncle Kracker.
More evidence: "Keg in the Closet," an examination of how life ruled when Chesney was in a frat in college, they partied a lot at East Tennessee State, and "Old Blue Chair," which celebrates sitting your ass down and contemplating the world. Oh, and if you and your wife/husband are having marital woes, just listen to "When I Think About Leaving," and it'll all be made clear: divorced people have sucky lives and it's bad for the kids. Stick it out. Problem solved.
Rule B: Country in the 21st century is basically just FM pop from the 1970s.
Main evidence: Chesney's self-written "I Go Back," which manages to big up John Mellencamp, Steve Miller, AND Billy Joel all in the same song. This music brings him back to his youth, makes him feel better, all that – it's also the clearest indication of Chesney's music. Sure, there are mandolins here and there, maybe a fiddle or two, but this is AOR rock for real. Not only are there little references to Jimmy Buffett and Aerosmith and James Taylor on "Outta Here," but the rather metallic guitar solos in "The Woman in You" quote "Hotel California" in at least three places. (None of this is news if you listen to country these days at all, but still.) If you saw him on "CMT Crossroads" singing with Mellencamp, you KNOW where Kenny's allegiances lie.
Rule C: Sometimes Things Suck, But You Can Get Over It.
Main evidence: HUGE hit single "There Goes My Life," the best of the one million singles from the last twelve months that focus on how hard it is when your children grow up. Here, the rather spoiled protagonist is upset that his girlfriend gets pregnant (oh poor me, "there goes my life") but loves his young daughter (she's going to bed, aw, "there goes my life") and then she goes to college (she's driving away, "there goes my life"). Truly a great song, great performance by Chesney.
More evidence: Even racist assholes and hereditary alcoholics can turn it around (slammin' powerballad "Some People Change"). Hangovers suck, so do broken hearts, both of them are curable with time ("Being Drunk's a Lot Like Loving You")!
These three rules are unbreakable, according to this beautifully slick slab of pop music. The best thing here is "Anything But Mine," which is the best explanation of end-of-summer callow-youth sexual-performance-anxiety ever (translation: "I hope I am good in bed tonight because I want this memory to last so I can write about it in a song for Kenny Chesney and make lots of money," nice one to songwriter Scooter Carusoe). I like this album but I don't love it, because you can only love something when you see yourself in it, and Kenny and I have no commonality whatsoever. But it's a great driving record, you won't strain your head, it's mellow but not all mellow and not too mellow. Come join the Kenny Kult and be happy happy happy even in the face of adversity. 21-Apr-2004 8:30 AM