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Jason Aldean

Wide Open – 2009 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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CDs by Jason Aldean

If there's a theme running through Jason Aldean's third disc, it's leaving the country for the city and the highways in between - indeed, no less than three songs employ shopworn metaphors equating hitting the road with living your life. In the title track, a girl stuck in a small town finally sets out on the road to find herself, while Keep the Girl offers a man who can't decide between following his dreams or staying in the small town with his girl. In Fast, the city life is fast and dangerous, but then, country life, with droughts and car accidents, isn't made to sound all that welcoming, either.

The songs are largely mid-tempo country rock with little to distinguish the songs from each other, nor myriad songs that have come before. Big Green Tractor lacks the wit and self-awareness of Alan Jackson's Country Boy, while employing similar innuendo. She's Country covers ground that's been traveled before with varying success, but here it comes across like a male fantasy version of Gretchen Wilson's girl-power anthem, Redneck Woman.

The lack of variety in tempo and mood leaves "Wide Open" dragging.