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Twentieth Century – 1999 (RCA)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Alabama

Even though this is Alabama's 500th album, it has a youthful air about it. And it's not just the presence of bubble gummers In the, 'N Sync...on "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You" (which should probably be called "Alabama Should Spend a Little More Time Picking Their Singing Partners.") Listen to this line from the title tune: "Oh, the Twentieth Century wasn't all that bad/It was a time like no one has ever had.../We sent a man into the sky/When he walked on the moon we were so glad." Now you can't get much more youthful that that; sounds like a first-grader wrote it.

Maybe Alabama is in their second childhood. Like many an Alzheimer's victim, they tend to repeat themselves a lot. ("Life's Too Short to Love This Fast" finds the Bama boys still in a hurry but not knowing why; 9 of the 12 songs here are about romantic love, 7 of them could easily be retitled "Gosh, I Love You.") They tend to ramble semi-coherently about the past ("Twentieth Century") and they sometimes think old things are new (on "I'm in That Kind of Mood" a connection between dancing and sex is discovered!). In advanced stages of senile dementia people often develop unreasonable sentimental attachments to inanimate objects, like Alabama for azure ink on "Write it Down in Blue."

We probably should have seen this coming years ago. (Can anybody really tell any difference between "High Cotton," "Song of the South," "Down Home" and "Born Country"?) But research goes on, and someday we will have a cure for Alabama, if not for Alzheimer's. The 21st century oughta do it.