"Wheelhouse" is the ninth studio album by American country music artist Brad Paisley, released on April 9, 2013, by Arista Nashville. Paisley co-produced the album with longtime collaborator Chris DuBois and co-wrote all 17 tracks alongside songwriters such as Chris Stapleton, Lee Thomas Miller, and Ashley Gorley. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and second on the Billboard 200, offering over 100,000 copies in its very first week. "Wheelhouse" includes visitor appearances from singers including Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, LL Cool J, and Hunter Hayes.
Themes and Musical Style
"Wheelhouse" strays from the typical sound of c and w and pushes the borders to a more diverse and experimental area in regards to both lyrical content and musical plans. Paisley balances traditional nation styles-- heartbreak, small-town living, and patriotism-- with modern concerns such as racial bias and domestic abuse. Throughout the album, Paisley utilizes his signature humor, storytelling skills, and wailing guitar solos to move the narrative forward.
The music in "Wheelhouse" shows Paisley's skill as a guitar player, incorporating aspects from various categories such as rock, blues, gospel, and even dubstep. Experimenting with various sounds and instrumentation, Paisley opts for a more sleek production, giving the album a vibrant feel.
The album's lead single, "Southern Comfort Zone", centers around the concept of embracing different cultures and perspectives while still remaining true to one's roots. The tune became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
"Beat This Summer" showcases Paisley's wistful storytelling alongside an appealing hook, as the vocalist thinks back about a past summertime love. The track received positive evaluations for its feel-good vibe and strong classic sentiments.
"Outstanding in Our Field" combines Paisley, Dierks Bentley, and Hunter Hayes in a raucous celebration of life, friendship, and great times. The infectious tune and vibrant guitar work make it a high-energy anthem for live performances.
"Remind Me", a duet with Carrie Underwood, is a romantic ballad about reigniting the passion in a fading relationship. Paisley and Underwood's vocal harmonization and the emotional intensity of the lyrics make this track a standout.
"Accidental Racist", a cooperation with LL Cool J, stirred up controversy and criticism upon its release due to its handling of race relations. The tune speaks to the misunderstandings and judgments that originate from using signs such as a Confederate flag, and it intends to construct a bridge in between races with forgiveness and objectivity. However, critics argued that the song oversimplifies complex problems and accidentally perpetuates stereotypes. Paisley has given that safeguarded the track, preserving that his intention was to promote dialogue and understanding.
"Wheelhouse" marks an enthusiastic and experimental chapter in Brad Paisley's career, showcasing his large musical capabilities. Regardless of the controversy surrounding "Accidental Racist", the album uses a varied and appealing collection of songs that highlight Paisley's growth as an artist. From standard nation ballads to genre-defying tracks, "Wheelhouse" represents a considerable turning point in Paisley's journey to challenge the borders of c and w and develop himself as a flexible artist.
Artist: Brad Paisley
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