Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Brad Paisley: American Saturday Night [Arista Nashville, 2009]
Here's an album where the marriage ballads are so meaty and convincing that the two exceptionally well-turned breakup songs seem like formal exercises, where a comedy number about fishing and beer would sound just dandy if there weren't so many subtler laughs on the agenda--like when the title number ends up in Manhattan, or when "Welcome to the Future" ends up on a synth outro, or when Paisley's rowdy guy friends join in on a hearty "You wear the pants/Buddy good for you/We're so impressed/Whoop-de-do." In short, here's an album from the capital of hits-and-filler where the filler could be somebody else's hits. As woman-friendly as Garth Brooks without the emo overkill, Paisley seems happier than ever, and I don't think it's just about his wife and kids. I think it's about Barack Obama. Listen carefully to "Welcome to the Future" and try to tell me I'm wrong. Then watch the video and hope Paisley isn't wrong either. A