When the Sun Goes Down
label: BNA Records
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
A: This is a very easy world to get along in.
evidence: When the Sun Goes Down, the big #1 hit single
from this album, wherein Kenny Chesney and his duet partner Uncle
Kracker explain that night time is cool because that's when you
get laid. This song is pretty notable for combining Hawaiian thingies
with steel drums, and for being completely unmemorable apart from
the chorus, and for Kracker's "ad-libs" about how "sexy"
he is and how "Uncle Kenny's hotter when the sun goes down."
HUGE hit, can't remember any of the verses at all, I hate songs
like this but it's so likable! Kinda like "No Shoes, No Shirt,
No Problems," except with Uncle Kracker.
More evidence: "Keg in the Closet,"
an examination of how life ruled when Chesney was in a frat in
college, they partied a lot at East Tennessee State, and "Old
Blue Chair," which celebrates sitting your ass down and contemplating
the world. Oh, and if you and your wife/husband are having marital
woes, just listen to "When I Think About Leaving," and
it'll all be made clear: divorced people have sucky lives and
it's bad for the kids. Stick it out. Problem solved.
B: Country in the 21st century is basically just FM pop from the
evidence: Chesney's self-written "I Go Back," which
manages to big up John Mellencamp, Steve Miller, AND Billy Joel
all in the same song. This music brings him back to his youth,
makes him feel better, all that – it's also the clearest
indication of Chesney's music. Sure, there are mandolins here
and there, maybe a fiddle or two, but this is AOR rock for real.
Not only are there little references to Jimmy Buffett and Aerosmith
and James Taylor on "Outta Here," but the rather metallic
guitar solos in "The Woman in You" quote "Hotel
California" in at least three places. (None of this is news
if you listen to country these days at all, but still.) If you
saw him on "CMT Crossroads" singing with Mellencamp,
you KNOW where Kenny's allegiances lie.
C: Sometimes Things Suck, But You Can Get Over It.
evidence: HUGE hit single "There Goes My Life," the
best of the one million singles from the last twelve months that
focus on how hard it is when your children grow up. Here, the
rather spoiled protagonist is upset that his girlfriend gets pregnant
(oh poor me, "there goes my life") but loves his young
daughter (she's going to bed, aw, "there goes my life")
and then she goes to college (she's driving away, "there
goes my life"). Truly a great song, great performance by
More evidence: Even racist assholes and
hereditary alcoholics can turn it around (slammin' powerballad
"Some People Change"). Hangovers suck, so do broken
hearts, both of them are curable with time ("Being Drunk's
a Lot Like Loving You")!
These three rules are unbreakable, according
to this beautifully slick slab of pop music. The best thing here
is "Anything But Mine," which is the best explanation
of end-of-summer callow-youth sexual-performance-anxiety ever
(translation: "I hope I am good in bed tonight because I
want this memory to last so I can write about it in a song for
Kenny Chesney and make lots of money," nice one to songwriter
Scooter Carusoe). I like this album but I don't love it, because
you can only love something when you see yourself in it, and Kenny
and I have no commonality whatsoever. But it's a great driving
record, you won't strain your head, it's mellow but not all mellow
and not too mellow. Come join the Kenny Kult and be happy happy
happy even in the face of adversity.
liked When the Sun Goes Down...
There Goes My Life
2. I Go Back
3. When the Sun Goes Down
4. The Woman With You
5. Some People Change
6. Anything But Mine
7. Keg in the Closet
8. When I Think About Leaving
9. Being Drunk's a Lot Like Loving You
10. Outta Here
11. Old Blue Chair
12. Live Those Songs
13. What I Need to Do
14. Please Come to Boston