Sometimes you need more than my silly review of an album to go out and make the purchase. I totally get it! So, I read this review this morning from a very well-respected critic (unlike myself) about Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat” album. It’s a quick read and worth it!
Review: Chris Janson, With ‘Buy Me a Boat,’ Separates Himself From Bro-Country Genre
By JON CARAMANICA NOV. 4, 2015
Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat” is a working-class anthem, a bone-dry, heavily drawled shrug about the downside of wage labor. It’s also wry: “They call me redneck, white trash and blue collar/but I could change all that if I had a couple million dollars.”
In the modern country context — denuded accents, love songs, winks to pop and hip-hop — it feels practically heretical.
Mr. Janson was between labels when he released “Buy Me a Boat”; it first gained attention when the influential and disruptive radio D.J. Bobby Bones played it on his show. And yet it went as high as No. 2 on the Billboard country chart, a novelty that became something more. That means that Mr. Janson might be Nashville’s first viable post-bro. In the genre’s perpetual arm wrestle over values, “Buy Me a Boat” feels like the beginning of a comeback for rural-minded country.
Mr. Janson’s impressive full-length debut album, titled after his breakthrough hit, is an extension of that promise, from the rambunctious “Power of Positive Drinkin’ ” to the tough flirtation “Save a Little Sugar” to the surprisingly affecting “Yeah It Is,” a pickup song with a moral center.
Even his more conventional, value-free material — the soft island country of “Under the Sun,” or the boy-becomes-man tale “Holdin’ Her” — is strong. That’s probably because, at 29, Mr. Janson is already something of a Nashville lifer. He released his debut single five years ago, and has been signed to at least four record labels. In the meanwhile, he’s written songs for several artists, from Justin Moore (“Off the Beaten Path”) to Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah”). (Mr. McGraw returns the favor here, teaming up with Mr. Janson on the cheeky “Messin’ With Jesus.”)
The album closes with the redemption tale “White Trash.” It’s a familiar class anxiety story — working folks versus the bourgeoisie, in a proxy fight for country music’s soul. Songs like this were anathema to the heartthrobs of recent years — they always get the girl. But for Mr. Janson, it’s not a given. “Their daddies didn’t want us hanging ‘round their girls,” he sings, with a splash of resentment. Does he get the girl? Of course he does. Post-bro, 1; bro, 0
Now will you go get it?!
Here’s some fun Chris music for ya:
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