Blake Shelton’s ninth studio album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, will be available Tuesday, September 30th, much to the excitement and anticipation of fans. In describing this album, Blake said it will contain “stuff that I haven’t addressed in my music as much as I used to, whether it’s drinking songs, heartbreak songs or songs about how people treat you.” Regardless of the combination of songs and topics Blake includes in his offering, we are certain that the recipe will be one for success and he’ll be shining his “Neon Light” down from the top of the charts at his peers in the industry.
A twelve track project, Blake is dialing back to the days of yore, singing as much about Moonshine as he is sunshine, and allowing himself to have a little light-hearted fun, despite the enormous amount of romanticism in his heart. The album kicks off with the title track “Bringing Back the Sunshine,” a message of promise from Blake that he’s ready to bring a piece of his former self back to his fans. In the second verse, Blake sings “yesterday’s all forgotten and today we start rockin’,” and this line truly sets the tone for the album.
With songs like “Neon Light,” “Gonna,” “Buzzin'” (featuring RaeLynn), and “Just Getting Started,” Blake lets a little loose, shows off his fun-loving personality, and picks up the beat a notch from his typically mellow tunes. “Neon Light,” the lead single off Bringing Back the Sunshine, is continuing its climb up the charts, making its way to its expected final destination — Number 1. Following in its uptempo shadow, the other named tracks are the drinking songs Blake guaranteed on this disc, as well as some flirtatious tunes that are less heart-driven, and more head-driven, than Blake’s typical love song.
In songs like “A Girl,” “Good Country Song,” and “Anyone Else,” Blake slows it down, singing about subjects such as young love and the pain of devoting yourself to someone who is living selfishly. Blake also uses a ballad to share his love for a good country song; one that touches your heart, soul, and brings you to your feet. The chorus, one that anyone who is reading this could likely understand, talks about a song that “makes you smile, makes you hurt, leaves you hangin’ on every word;” one that “makes you love, makes you leave, raise some hell or hit your knees.” With this track, Blake not only sings about a good country song, he provides us with a great one that will receive a positive reception from listeners.
Highlights on the album include the jaw-droppingly beautiful duet with Blake and Ashley Monroe (formerly of Pistol Annies). “Lonely Tonight” is a song of longing for the past and wondering if the person who broke your heart is sitting at home alone, also thinking of you. Of course, if that is the case, the most sensical thing to do is combine forces to combat the lonely. With Blake’s smooth voice and the unfathomably sensational vocals of the all-too-underrated Ashley Monroe, this track is, hands down, going to be a fan favorite and, hopefully, an eventual (and therefore inevitable hit) single.
Another highlight is “Just South of Heaven,” a ballad reminiscent of the summer that changed a man’s life, as he met a girl who he credited with saving his soul. The gorgeous chorus goes:
I don’t know much about eternity, where somebody like me’s gonna wind up going. All I know is that I’ve already been parked in a Chevy by the deep river rollin’, and that summer night, shootin’ star paradise might be all that I’m given, kissin’ and sippin’ that Seven and Seven somewhere just south of heaven.
With the end of the summer and many years passed, he can still close his eyes and see her dancing silhouette and remember everything clearly. On this track, Blake’s ability to emote and pour himself into the lyrics is unparalleled, as you not only hear, but feel, each and every syllable that escapes his lips.
“I Need My Girl” is another standout performance on the album, showcasing Blake’s vocals, specifically in the energetic chorus. The song is about trading in vices (such as alcohol and cigarettes) for what is truly needed at that point in time – his girl, “ninety miles down the interstate.” The verses are slow and simple, leading into an explosive chorus; both instrumentally and vocally. With Blake’s track record and propensity to release singles with a certain sound, this song will quite possibly make its way to radio stations before Bringing Back the Sunshine runs its course.
While Blake promised to have a little more fun with this album, one thing is clear from this collection of songs; he has found his niche in the romantic crooner category and fits perfectly in that spot in country music. With a “just so” coupling of gritty vocals and emotional delivery, Blake owns the mellow country song corner of the world and has not made a single wrong move while tucked away comfortably in that section of the genre.
Bringing Back the Sunshine will be available this coming Tuesday, September 30th. You can pre-order the album now by clicking on the iTunes banner below. You can also watch the music video for “Neon Light” here to tide yourself over until the big release:
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