If Jason Aldean is going to be the face of country music in 2012, then is it too much to ask that he come up with something original? Or something that sounds good? Or that actually feels country? Or, God forbid, all of the above?
“Take a Little Ride,” the kickoff single from Aldean’s forthcoming fifth studio album is so rote, and so been-there-done-that that it’s depressing. It aspires to be nothing more than a soundalike of Aldean’s preceding parade of rafter-rattling country-rockers, “Johnny Cash,” “She’s Country,” “Crazy Town,” “My Kinda Party,” and the like. Needless to say, it studiously adheres to every imagery ingredient (cut-off jeans, tailgates, etc.) in the recipe for a half-baked country radio hit.
The only noteworthy differences include a tacked-on sex metaphor that doesn’t feel clever or original in any meaningful way, along with the fact that Jason’s star is now big enough to eliminate the need for obligatory, genre-pandering sprinkling of country instrumentation. It will be a big hit, but that’s hardly surprising, since it’s clear that such lame recycled mediocrity is what passes for a country hit these days.