“I Still Like Bologna” celebrates the simple things in an age of 50-inch HD plasma TVs. Jackson erects a special pedestal for a spiritual, patriotic, family-oriented “Small Town Southern Man.” The bouncy-sweet love song “Never Loved Before” (with Martina McBride) gives nods to gentlemanly behavior. Fans can learn from the romantic regrets of a man trying to recover from his own unfaithfulness (“I Wish I Could Back Up”). “Sissy’s Song” copes with a friend’s death by imagining her in heaven, blissfully walking with Jesus. Speaking of the Lord, the singer believes He’d be a misunderstood common man “If Jesus Walked the World Today.” Unfortunately …
Depicting Christ as a tattooed “hillbilly” brand-conscious enough to drive a Chevy is a stretch. A misuse of God’s name appears on “Good Time,” a partyer’s musical toast to beer, tequila and women. Rum compounds the problems on “Nothing Left to Do,” which reduces sex to a rote exercise that ends with the guy asking for the TV remote. Therapy on “If You Want to Make Me Happy” involves lots of depressing music and bourbon.
This disc represents the best and worst of country music. Great moments, but faith and homespun values give way to alcohol and good ol’ boy posturing.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.