Album Review: Welcome to the Fishbowl by Kenny Chesney
Great, Based on 5 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
Fans still find his tractor and Tiki bars sexy, but Welcome to the Fishbowl continues Kenny Chesney's trajectory away from Margaritaville and toward singer-songwriter introspection: Sad songs set in El Cerrito and New York; a title track peevishly protesting lost privacy. Fairly depressive, in total – but these days, Chesney sounds more convincing when he's less upbeat. Listen to 'Welcome to the Fishbowl': Related• Photos: Random Notes .
Kenny Chesney’s fifteenth studio album (and 11th number one) Welcome to the Fishbowl finds him continuing to explore his more mature side which was hinted at on 2010’s Hemingway’s Whiskey. Fishbowl displays a serious yearning to stretch and dig a little deeper into life’s foibles, as if Chesney is trying to figure them out himself, but in a good way. The album’s name is taken from the bouncy title track, which finds Chesney pondering the consequences of celebrity for himself and for those who obtain notoriety through social media (“You don’t have to be famous now to be a star/Just get caught on video and there you are”).
Someone get Kenny Chesney back to his beachside hammock and reconnect his piña colada IV, stat! Lately the sun-loving country titan has been more inclined to take moody nighttime strolls along the shore, and if his 13th album is any indication, the guy’s got a lot to feel down about. ”I don’t think I can take this bed getting any colder,” he laments on aching opener ”Come Over.” And on the Alzheimer’s tale ”While He Still Knows Who I Am,” a son watches as his father fades away. Chesney’s albums have always been considerably more wistful than his radio persona, but Welcome to the Fishbowl‘s tunes, while well wrought, can be downright dour.
There are two sides to Kenny Chesney: a side that loves the good times and a side that reflects on what it all means. The quieter side won out on 2010's Hemingway's Whiskey, an unusually literary album boasting a title track written by Guy Clark and a mournful hit in his Grace Potter duet "You and Tequila. " That Top Ten country hit is reprised in a live version tacked at the end of 2012's Welcome to the Fishbowl but, as the cheeky title suggests, this is a far cheerier affair than the handsomely burnished Hemingway's Whiskey.
Stadium-swelling country abounds on Chesney’s 15th studio album. Leonie Cooper 2012 The sanitised sound of New Nashville and what has become the soulless swagger of Music Row might rankle country purists, but identikit singers with Teflon stubble have been swelling stadiums stateside for over two decades. Tennessee’s Kenny Chesney might not be a familiar name in the UK – he’s probably best known as the former Mr Renée Zellweger – but back home he’s huge.