Album Review: Old School New Rules by Hank Williams, Jr.
Mediocre, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 70 Based on rating 7/10
Hank Williams Jr. , although no one suggests he eclipsed his famous father's song catalog, has become an American icon in his own right, an irascible country outlaw with rowdy friends whose Southern rock style of honky tonk has put him, much like contemporaries Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash, at the very epicenter of modern country music. Junior isn't his father, but with his outspoken conservative politics and his "everyman out on a Saturday night" approach to life, he emerges as a much stronger personality, almost a brand, if you will, helped in good part by having his modified version of "All My Rowdy Friends" as the lead-in to Monday Night Football for over 20-some years.
It wasn’t entirely shocking when the Monday Night Football theme-song icon was eighty-sixed from the show last fall after comments he made comparing Obama to Hitler. Williams’ hard-right politics were never really hidden, and Old School New Rules leans heavily on that persona, spewing Internet-troll claptrap about the ”gotcha” media and impinged freedom. All the Don’t Tread on Me-isms trample some otherwise winning melodies, like the Brad Paisley-assisted tribute to Jr.’s dad, ”I’m Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams.” C- Best Tracks:Three Day TripOld School .
If someone had handed me an unmarked CD with this music on it, I would’ve sworn that this was some kind of very well-produced parody of Southern culture and Tea Party politics. It is quite simply a pure distillation of left wing America’s deepest fears about the right wing, and it only confirms that those fears are well founded as it swims in rampant nationalism, xenophobia and ignorance and dresses up oppression as freedom. For members of the right wing of American politics, I can only imagine that this album is a neat summary of all of their views regarding God, land, and country—a beautiful tribute to patriotism and to the self, a masterpiece that neatly sums up red America’s hopes, dreams, and struggles.