Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Trace Adkins

  • Songs About Me [Capitol, 2005] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Songs About Me [Capitol, 2005]
Adkins is one of these guys who spends so much time in the weight room that his arms don't hang plumb from his shoulders. In the rear view thoughtfully provided his female fans in the booklet, only his ponytail and his cowboy hat distinguish him from the Incredible Hulk. You'd never confuse him with the similarly named Clay Aiken, a much wimpier guy, and not just in the delts--Adkins's baritone sounds like it emanates from the Mammoth Cave. But in the most essential matter you'd be dead wrong. Track record notwithstanding, the ex-gospel singer is every bit as much a calculated corporate creation as the duly elected idol. The 11 songs on this No. 1 country, No. 11 pop album were written by 23 songwriters, only one of whom has his name on even two. The most far-fetched is "Arlington," in which Dave Turnbull vouchsafes the patriotic thoughts of a dead soldier--to be specific, the first Tennesseean to die in our current Iraq war--to former DUI Adkins. Needless to say, the artist suffers no anxieties over exactly why any of these songs he didn't write is "about me." These are "songs I've been waiting to record for my entire career." Especially "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." C