Album Review – SET YOU FREE – Gary Allan

garyallan

 

 

(Posted on Amazon.com on 01/26/13)

Dear Music Appreciators,

Based on what I’ve read in some other reviews I think it’s worth noting here that the Amazon customer review star rating system is not intended to be an objective critical analysis tool. The star rating system is intended to help communicate how much a reviewer personally enjoyed a product (which is completely subjective) and not to communicate an objective critical judgement as to whether or not a product is a “good” product or a “bad” product.

1 star = “I hate it”
2 stars = “I don’t like it”
3 stars = “It’s ok”
4 stars = “I like it”
5 stars = “I love it”

To me this means that it doesn’t really make sense for one reviewer to dispute another reviewer’s star rating, because really, who is that reviewer to try and say how much another reviewer “liked” or “didn’t like” a product?

That being said, I “liked” Gary Allan’s new album but I didn’t really “love it”, though I almost loved it. This means it’s a good album and it’s worth buying.

This is my first Gary Allan experience actually. First track, right away I thought “Steve Earle.” That comparison faded over the course of the album, but the two singers do share some qualities. They both seem to have a certain rebellious/outsider quality and a certain kind of a gritty badassness that can be refreshing. Some Steve Earle fans might balk at the comparison but I believe the similarities are there.

One of my biggest obstacles to loving this album completely is the relative forgettableness (and corniness really) of the last four tracks compared to the first eight tracks. “Tough Goodbye” is sad and poignant, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” is poetic and hopeful, “Bones” is memorably sassy (I love that it’s multiple bones and not just one bone…um, that’s what she said…), “It Ain’t the Whiskey” is beautifully introspective, and, well, you get the picture – the first eight are great. The last four ain’t. But oh well.

For music appreciators who have never heard of Gary Allan, this is a fine introduction (at least it was for me), enough to peak your interest to explore his catalog, and for Gary Allan fans I would think this would be a welcome addition to his discography. Eight out of twelve are really quality tunes. If this was baseball, a .750 batting average would make him the greatest hitter who ever lived. That’s kind of funny when you think about it – is it harder to get a base hit than it is to write a great song?

Sincerely,

Constant Listener

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