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Moonshine in the Trunk

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Album Review

Ambition got the better of Brad Paisley on 2013's Wheelhouse, coaxing him into the briar patch that was "Accidental Racist" — an ill-conceived cross-cultural duet with LLCool J which generated a flurry of headlines that camouflaged how the album straight-up flopped on country radio. Wheelhouse was Paisley's first record since Play not to go gold, and even that is misleading because that 2008 effort was an instrumental album and those never sell in large numbers; subtract that from his stats and the 2013 record achieves the ignoble status of his first-ever album not to reach gold and, perhaps more importantly, his first not to generate a number one single. Paisley slyly alludes to this slump, singing "I guess I've been in a dry spell, but that's about to change" on "Crushin' It," the opening track of his 2014 album Moonshine in the Trunk, a phrasing that suggests his dip in sales lasted longer than a year — which, in a way, it has. His sales started decreasing around the time of the open-hearted, far-ranging American Saturday Night, so perhaps it's no surprise that he's attempting to turn back the clock on Moonshine in the Trunk, stripping back all his experimentations and declining every detour so he winds up with a record that could function as a de facto sequel to 2007's 5th Gear. Moonshine in the Trunk is all gleaming steel, hard edges, sleek rhythms, and power ballads, state-of-the-art modern country that doesn't dare make a big deal of any of Paisley's eccentricities outside of his squealing guitar. Restless guy that he is, Paisley doesn't quite abandon every one of his quirks: specifically, he plays around with rhythm, setting "Crushin' It" to a thumping disco beat, pushing "River Bank" along to a stuttering syncopation, and underscoring "Limes" to an electronic loop. These dance-friendly beats go down smoothly because the emphasis is on the twang of the Telecaster and Paisley's drawl, signatures as prominent as his sense of humor which also surfaces on Moonshine in the Trunk — quite genially on "Going Green," a wry tale of a redneck choosing to sacrifice for the sake of the environment, and quite nastily on "High Life," where a bunch of white trash sue their way toward millions. No matter how much he rhapsodizes about the logos across the caps in this great "Country Nation," these two novelties suggest where Paisley's sympathies lie: he's too smart, too worldly to pander to his base, so he'll take sly jabs and disguise his wide-eyed futurism within the nostalgia of "American Flag on the Moon." Most of all, he's savvy enough to know when to play it safe, which he does throughout Moonshine in the Trunk, turning out high-octane, highly enjoyable songs about trucks, water, speed, and making out with girls who don't realize they're beautiful enough to be a model. This is, for want of a better word, his wheelhouse, and while he may not be leaving his comfort zone here, Moonshine in the Trunk proves his strengths remain mighty potent.

Customer Reviews

Best Work Yet, Which Is Saying Something

Crushin' It: 8/10. Probably not the song I would have started the album with but it's a good one none the less.

River Bank: 7/10. This will likely be one of the songs he is remembered for, but it's really not my favorite. He tried too hard to make this one sound good. Granted it worked but when I first heard it it wasn't what I hoped his new album would sound like.

Perfect Storm: 10/10. This song is what BP is all about! It's another "She's Everything" type of song, but I believe that this will be one of the if not the best selling songs on this album. Very beautiful.

High Life: 7/10. You know, for some reason I don't think brad can connect with Carrie all that well. "Oh Love" was nothing special, and "Remind Me" was the most disappointing song on that album. I'm not impressed with this one so far, but I really hope that after a while it will grow on me. It's the best out of the three so far though, that's for sure.

Moonshine in the Trunk: 9/10. This song may have the best guitar solo in the history of country music, but it was better when he performed it live for Jimmy Fallon. Hence the missing point.

Shattered Glass: 9/10. The only thing keeping this from a 10 is the unneeded use of the A-word. Brad can do so much already. He doesn't need to swear, especially in such a heart felt song such as this. The only funny swear word brad ever had was in "Celebrity"😂

Limes: 6/10. A lot of people seem to like this song, but I wasn't a fan. Sounded to much like a Kermit the frog song to me...

You Shouldn't Have To: 8/10. By the name of the song, I was hoping for a "Letter to Me" or "A Man Don't Have to Die" type of song. I was slightly disappointed... It's not the most catchy tune.

4WP: 8/10. I quite liked this, I think it's probably his best fast paced song on the album. It's like an "Old Alabama" except more of a tribute to himself😂 it was very creative and didn't sound like pop at all, a rare feat for country artists these days.

Cover Girl: 6/10. I actually did not find myself very entertained by this. It's one of his songs that I don't thing anyone will remember. It sounds like a "low budget song", so to speak, meaning I don't think that Brad himself will remember the lyrics by a year😂

Gone Green: 9/10. This has potential to be my favorite song on the album. Emmylou's voice goes so well with BPs voice, I can't believe it. The lyrics are so good, Zac Brown-esque. Just about the simple things in life.

American Flag on the Moon: 10/10. Brad definitely saved the best for last on this album. I can not get over the guitar and his smooth voice in this song. It's an American song, and reminds me a lot of something that Toby Keith would have sung.

Country Nation: 10+/10. This song is the defining moment of Brads career. This song was so well written, it will be remembered for decades. Only two songs this year have given me chills the first time I heard them: Meanwhile Back at Mamas, by Tim McGraw and Country Nation, by BP. The guitar riffs and the whole music is amazing, heartfelt. The lyrics are wonderful, and Brads voice just blows this song out of the water. Definitely a top 5 country song of this decade so far, if not the top.

Me and Jesus: 10/10. The song in itself isn't as smooth sounding as I would have liked, but the lyrics of this song could have you crying. It's a man singing about his own trials, not just a country singer singing to an audience. It's very spiritual and heartfelt.

Overall I think this album deserves a 4.6/5 stars. It had some of his best work ever in this album, and the songs will never be forgettable. I was hoping for a few more slow songs, such as a "Toothbrush", "Anything Like Me", or Little Moments", but there were only a couple. Oh well, Brad has a bright future. I hope this review helped, and thanks for reading it!

Keep it up Brad!!!😁

The Re-birth of Brad Paisley

"Moonshine In The Trunk" is a major improvement to it's predecessor "Wheelhouse". The first single "River Bank" is a catchy tune which is instantly a Paisley classic. Brad returns to his roots with this album and should with the way the first three songs sound, this may be his greatest album ever. 10/10

Moonshine In The Trunk

So excited to hear all of the songs off of Moonshine In The Trunk! Brads music is always great and I know that all of these songs will be amazing!


Born: October 28, 1972 in Glen Dale, WV

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Arguably the preeminent male country artist to emerge in the 2000s, Brad Paisley cannily blended the past with the present, paying constant tribute to his forefathers -- when he reached the top of the charts, he still found space for Little Jimmy Dickens and George Jones in his videos -- but pushing the music forward into the new millennium, expanding its sonic and thematic possibilities. This sense of adventure could be heard on 2009's American Saturday Night, a big-hearted and eclectic record that...
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Moonshine in the Trunk, Brad Paisley
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Customer Ratings