Jimmie Allen's "Mercury Lane" is an album of likeable pop-country. Being likeable is always a good thing, but an album of music merely that is not a sonic description that leads directly to a hearty recommendation. The production on the full-length is big, bright - and in a word - pop. Allen may be a country guy, but these 15 songs will never be confused with real country sounds.
Lyrically, Allen - who had a hand in writing most of this album - pushes many of the right radio subject matter buttons. "21" reaches for nostalgia, which is always a smart commercial move, as no genre is more nostalgic than mainstream country. With "Underdogs," Allen gives us a stadium anthem where everybody can sing along with, lighters raised. Although it's put to a generic pop arrangement - as are all these songs - "Warrior" features a sweet sentiment. It's a song about Allen's mother, and nobody...well, you guessed it...loves their mamas more than country artists. "All Tractors Ain't Green" speaks to individuality, yet Allen contradicts the message in his song by coming off overly generic.
Allen has a wonderfully soulful singing voice, which is nearly completely wasted on these boringly predictable arrangements. Put that voice with some fiddle and steel guitar, and you just might have something good. As it is, though, "Mercury Lane" is a far too well traveled street.