Kenny Chesney - Cosmic Hallelujah
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Cosmic Hallelujah (Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville, 2016)

Kenny Chesney

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

The gospel, per Kenny Chesney's pseudo-spiritually-titled album, "Cosmic Hallelujah," is that the world is too crazy to make any sense of, and the only logical response is to drink more alcohol. (So, don't be surprised if there are more arrests for public intoxication at the performer's upcoming concert dates). Nearly every song includes lines about drinking alcohol - and not merely for the taste. This content will please many of his hard-partying fans. It will likely disappoint those of us that grew to love Chesney because of older songs like "The Good Stuff," which dug much deeper into the human psyche.

Granted, Chesney does allude to Christianity when he sings, "We're all saved by Jesus and our mama's prayers" during "Some Town Somewhere" and then on "Noise" he notes, "Cardboard sign says 'the Lord is coming'/Tick, Tick, tock." But most talk of religion is just more 'noise' drowning out a good time. Lastly, "Jesus and Elvis" includes the Savior's name for kitsch value more than anything else.

The best track is "Setting the World on Fire," about a couple of young people - obviously much younger than Chesney and his peers - getting drunk and star struck in Hollywood. But it's P!nk's strong vocal presence on the recording that makes it shine most. Sports fans will also likely enjoy his coach appreciation in "Coach," which - along with "Noise" - is the only song he helped write.

The worst song, among a 12-song collection comprised of mostly mediocre material, is "Bucket," a profanity-alluding song about one man's bucket list that's not nearly as entertaining as the Jack Nicholson movie with a similar title.

This is not to suggest there is anything wrong with country music as escapism. Taking the mind off the cares of life is one of the big benefits to music, after all. However, when an album is nearly all escapist-related, without much else, it's mighty tough to respond with a hallelujah, whether the cosmic variety or otherwise.

CDs by Kenny Chesney

Here and Now deluxe, 2021 Here and Now, 2020 Songs for the Saints, 2018 Live in No Shoes Nation: 10 Years of Concerts, 2017 Cosmic Hallelujah, 2016 Life on a Rock, 2013 Welcome to the Fishbowl, 2012 Hemingway's Whiskey, 2010 Greatest Hits Two, 2009 Lucky Old Sun, 2008 Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates, 2007 Live Those Songs Again, 2006 The Road and the Radio, 2005 Be As You Are (Songs From An Old Blue Chair), 2005

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