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Album Review

An old cliché tells us, "You can't have your whiskey and drink it, too."

OK. There is no such saying. (There is pretty similar one about cake, though …) But it seems like there should be. Country music excells at selling two radically different messages, both of which continue to connect with the genre's fans.

One message exalts all things wholesome and traditional: the quite dignitiy of small town life. The beauty of lifelong love. The importance of God and church. The other message exalts all things wild and reckless: drinking said whiskey to the point of blacking out. Having a throw-caution-to-wind sexual romp. Partaking of tobacco (both chewed and smoked), as well as the occasional marijuana joint.

Where am I going with this? Well, let's just say that after 11 albums, country superstar Blake Shelton knows how to have his whiskey and drink it, too.

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Sexual Content

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Pro-social Content

"I'll Name the Dogs" is a sweet daydream about what marriage might be like: "I'm talkin' you and me with the same street name/Same last name, same everything." Shelton then suggests, "I'll hang the pictures, you hang the stars/You pick the paint, I'll pick a guitar/ … You name the babies, and I'll name the dogs, yeah." "Beside You Babe" likewise looks forward to a lifetime of faithful love ("I'm giving you the rest of my life/ … And I'll be right beside you, babe, 'til the end of time").

Continuing the album's upbeat theme of romantic bliss, "Why Me" ponders how a self-described "rebel" who's "been on a dance with the devil" could have ended up with a woman who's "a snapshot of perfection." Shelton wonders in amazement, "You could have picked anyone/Why me?"

"I Lived It" celebrates the simple joys of growing up in a small, rural town. It reminisces about a riding in the backs of trucks and a stern grandmother who said "the dress that my sister wore/To church wasn't long enough."

"Money" suggests that having cash isn't as important as having love. "The Wave" romantically tells us that a man has found his real purpose in life loving the right woman. He also describes her as "sweet salvation," a comparison that is both positive …

Objectionable Content

… and problematic if she's replacing a saving relationship with God.

"At the House" is one of several tracks primarily focused on sex. This one suggests skipping the usual bar-pickup ritual ("Don't need no tab, don't need no VISA/No bouncer looking like a wannabe Vin Diesel") and just getting straight to coitus on the couch ("Get the mood turned on and lights out/Lose a little something black and lacy in the couch/At the house"). Later, he encourages his partner, "Go ahead and get your freak on, ain't nobody gonna stop us."

"Money" often describes love in leering, lusting terms. "Girl, I sure can't tell you've been working your butt off/The way you're rocking them second-hand cutoffs/Mmm, can I talk you into takin' them off?" It's a request that goes hand-in-hand with the suggestion of drinking ("Score a little discount, six-pack Keystone") and smoking marijuana ("Twist a little home-grown"). He also tells this woman, "Hey, girl, put that body all on me."

"Turning Me On" is all about what the song's title implies. Once again, carnal pleasures get paired with inebriating ones ("Her kisses taste like whiskey/Burnin' through my veins/ … She's turning me on/ … Turning me on like it's her job"). Later we hear these suggestive lines: "Once she gets it started/Man, it's all night long."

Love and liquor mingle again in "The Wave" ("We were lit up when the lights came down"). "Hangover Due," meanwhile, imagines getting passing-out, blacking-out drunk with a lover, then waking up with her the next morning, "Laying in them tangled up sheets just laughing/Trying to piece together what the h--- just happened." (That profanity turns up on two other tracks, and we hear "a--" once, too.) The very next track, "When the Wine Wears Off," starts out similarly, subject-wise, with drinking and a steamy encounter. This time, though, Shelton's plagued by doubts about "believing you're really meaning every sweet word you just said." He asks her, "Tell me, will you still be mine/Baby, when the wine wears off?"

Those listening closely might hear some innuendo in "I'll Name the Dogs" when Shelton says in passing, "Still lovin' on you when the rooster crows." Other similarly subtle nods to physical intimacy turn up on "Beside You Babe" when he sings, "Just keep on moving and grooving to the daylight," as well as, "And I wanna hold you, hold you/Rollin' in the warm sunshine." More mild implications of a wild physical romp turn up in the otherwise regret-filled breakup song "Got the T-Shirt."

"I Lived It" romanticizes smoking ("Uncle Joe put tobacco in my hand/ … Granddaddy smoked Salems with the windows rolled up") and using chewing tobacco ("We drank from the hose and spit in the cup").

Summary Advisory

Blake Shelton's latest doesn't pack any real surprises, musically or lyrically. It's just a laid-back Southern pontoon ride full of Shelton's trademark twang. Its songs split the difference between longing for a woman's faithful love and settling for a lusty, drunken roll in the hay when thinking about forever seems just a bit too ambitious.

Plot Summary

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Topped iTunes' album chart.

Record Label

Warner Bros.




November 3, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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