Album Review: Album Review: Tim McGraw - 'Here on Earth'

7 October 2020 | 5:36 pm | Mallory Arbour

'Here on Earth' sixteenth studio album from American country music singer, Tim McGraw. It offers nothing new or exciting from the legend.

'Here on Earth' is the fifteen solo album and sixteenth studio album overall by multi-award winning, American country music singer, Tim McGraw. Released in August, the album peaked at number 10 on the ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums chart.

In a press release, the album was described as "a collection of songs McGraw brought together to create vignettes of shared human emotions such as love, relationships, introspection and fun. The album as a whole provides a musical tapestry of life and a shared experience that we can use to connect all the different lives that we live, all the different parts of the world that we come from and use music as the universal language to bring people together."

There’s no denying McGraw’s legendary status in the world of country music. Nor his large contribution to the cross-genre movement with the ballad Over and Over, the unlikely duet with American rapper Nelly, which reached number 1 on the Australian charts and was certified 2x Platinum in 2014, which helped lead to Kid Rock’s 2008 smash hit All Summer Long, and inspired the contemporary sounds of newer artists such as Kane Brown, Sam Hunt and Brantley Gilbert.

However, 'Here on Earth' offers nothing notably new or surprising. Track 8, Sheryl Crow perhaps comes close, with its sexy, sultry, seductive and dangerous sounds to revival James Otto’s The Man That I Am, off his 2008 'Sunset Man' album.

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The album has received mixed reviews, with many criticizing the artist for straying too far from those traditional country roots. And rightfully so! This isn’t it – and I can only assume those who made complaints are only occasional fans, as McGraw has never struck me as someone unwilling to take chances or experiment – and that’s evident over the course of his 17-year long and successful career. War of Art speaks of that ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ mentality and fighting for your own creative freedom.

One could argue, however, that McGraw has thematically chosen its generous 16-track listing as incredibly safe, sticking in the comfortable groove he’s long been in. But whether you’re seeking smooth ballads, soulful lyrics, country trifles or sweetened R&B – there’s a song for everybody, making even the most casual of listeners hard pressed to find something they couldn’t enjoy.

The first single I Called Mama a tribute to mothers everywhere (with the music video featuring clips of McGraw's fans and their mothers, as well as appearances by his own mother, Betty Trimble, and wife). The title track, Here on Earth, is about finding one’s purpose to bring people together to help make the world a better place, despite one’s race, colour or beliefs.

Long-term fans will unmistakably catch the Where the Green Grass Grows (cue that fiddle homage after the first chorus too – amirite?) and Shotgun Rider references in 7500 OBO – the album’s ultimate driving song.

LA boasts a beautiful melody that evoke memories of Glen Campbell. Chevy Spaceship could be a euphemism for falling in love, living a life less complicated, or smoking some heavy doobies. Doggone is a heartfelt ballad to man’s fallen best friend. If I Was A Cowboy is a soulful country-pop fusion for the ones who couldn’t settle down, with a sweet electric guitar riff. Hold You Tonight hits you straight from the heart and soul.

And, since his marriage to singer Faith Hill in 1996, his stability as a married man and father has been reflected in his lyrics, and is here perfectly captured in Damn Sure Do, Good Taste in Women and Hard to Stay Mad At. Gravy, Hallelujahville and Not from California are rooted in tradition and family too.

There are some real gems on the album. Chevy Spaceship and Not from California are early favourites. But, as I said earlier, there’s nothing overtly memorable, making it ultimately forgettable. Still, the tracks will sit well amongst other songs in your favourite country music playlist.

We rate 'Here on Earth' 3.5 Stars out of 5!

For more reviews from CountryTown, check here.