Black Music Matters Festival

Blake Shelton

Pure BS – 2007 (Warner)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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If his fourth album's any indication, Blake Shelton is at an artistic crossroads. His 11-song disc has a theme of inconsistency with 3 different producers - Bobby Braddock, Brent Rowan and Paul Worley. Half of the album signals a shift from Shelton's nontraditional country into a more pop-flavored brand of country. This couldn't be more evident than on "Don't Make Me," the first single and a pure power ballad.

Shelton tries to move away from his trademark Oklahoma twang on other ballads like "I Don't Care" and "Back There Again." Ironic, for an artist who included "The Last Country Song" as the last cut on the album. Shelton's joined by country legends George Jones and John Anderson on a tune that addresses the double entendre of rural development and the demise of traditional country. While you'd expect the trio to lament these happenings, the song is a party song where the characters are celebrating before the bar closes for good.

Shelton delivers on traditional country, connecting with a cheating ballad "She Can't Get That" about a woman who cheats because she can't get that (love) at home. The other country-sounding songs - "The More I Drink" and Chris Knight's "It Ain't Easy Bein' Me" - are overshadowed by ultra-silly lyrics.