Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Brad Paisley: Love and War [Arista, 2017]
If you believe the only country superstar ever to record a pro-Obama song owes us an anti-Trump song, you're not getting it--not exactly. What you are getting is the antiwar title track, a John Fogerty collab that unites Iraq and Vietnam--and also, by extension, Syria and whatever else they got. And toward the back where the Christian gesture is usually tucked away you're also getting an anti-hate song that decries the evil done in God's name in both "the darkest prison" and "the largest church," because after all, "God is love." That'll do, doncha think? This is easily Paisley's strongest album since American Saturday Night--not a bum track, loaded with good jokes (including, after several failed attempts, one about the internet), hymns to marriage haters will hate because they don't have what conjugal love takes, and, word of honor, a fun Mick Jagger cameo. It begins with something called "Heaven South," which one kind of hater will dismiss as escapist piffle but I say is Paisley's way of telling another kind of hater to quit feeling sorry for themselves and be grateful for what they got. It ends by reprising the same song. A