American Saturday Night Review - The Boston Globe
ďAmerican Saturday Night,íí Brad Paisleyís eighth studio record, isnít technically a concept album, but it captures all the spirited emotions, from thrilling highs to rock-bottom lows, such an evening often entails.
A decade into his career, Paisley has grown into a welcome addition to the contemporary country canon, a major star with an understated delivery and an enlightened songwriting perspective. Heís quickly becoming his generationís George Strait; heís just short a few dozen No. 1 hits.
On ďAmerican Saturday Night,íí more than on his previous efforts, thereís an easy charm to the songs that suggests Paisley relished recording them. Itís hard to remember the last time a Top 40 country album was so relaxed and shuffling yet still powerfully resonant and intimate. Crafting a sense of dynamics - both in his storytelling and the arrangements - has long been one of Paisleyís strengths.
ďAmerican Saturday Nightíí continues that streak with meaty guitar solos punctuating the twangy melodies and extended instrumental passages closing out several of the songs. Itís very much a smartly produced album that, while adhering to the blueprint for commercial-radio country music, successfully lassos a loose party vibe.
Snatches of background chatter - either real or a studio creation - creep into ďEverybodyís Hereíí and the title track, and the hard-charging ďCatch All the Fishíí (ďgonna drink all the beer,íí goes the chorus) morphs into a rousing good-time anthem with Paisley locked in a call-and-response with a choir of dudes who sound like theyíre huddled together with Miller Lites in hand.
Paisleyís thoroughly modern songwriting puts a humorous and unexpected gender-bending spin on ďThe Pantsíí (spoiler: it ainít the man who wears them in this relationship). On the slow-dance love song ďSheís Her Own Woman,íí Paisley sings: ďI wouldnít last 45 minutes in this house without her living in it/ Iíd be lost, thatís for sure/ But as for her/ Sheís her own woman.íí
ďWelcome to the Future,íí no doubt the boldest song on the album, defies stereotypes about country musicians and their politics. It marvels at the social change afoot since the election of Barack Obama (sample line: ďHey, wake up, Martin Luther/ Welcome to the futureíí), and itís sonically interesting, too, with subtle washes of gurgling synthesizers amid the fiddles and electric guitar. Welcome to the future . . . of country music.