Brooks recently released his first record in 13 years. Man Against Machine is classic Garth. It sounds like nostalgia. It sounds like Nineties Country music. It sounds like the Garth Brooks I grew up listening to. Garth is back, and this makes me happy.
I have no idea how this album compares to any other Country music out there these days, as I don't listen to it. However, I love the sound of this album. None of the songs sounds the same, they all have their own distinct feel to them. Ranging from traditional country western, to country-rock, country-blues. Brooks' vocals are clear and as "Garthy" as ever. Listening to the album, you can't even tell that it's been 13 years.
I like to think that the title track, Man Against Machine has something to do with Garth Brooks hating the internet. But really what I get from it is a tale of the struggles of working Americans whose manufacturing jobs are being handed over to machines:
"Day in day out
Bust your back and turn it out
Next morning do it again
Hard job or two
So your children won't have to
That's just the way it's always been
But lately I swear the machines
Are living the American Dream"
What ever the song is about, it kinda makes you think. Or at lease sing along.
She's Tired of Boys is a story of a girl looking for a real relationship, or at least real to her, one with a mature man.
"She said I’m tired of boys
I’m tired of first dates and I’m tired of toys
I want a lover that will understand
Someone who will touch me with a knowing hand
I am tired of feeling emptiness inside
I want to be the one left satisfied
I looked around and now I've made my choice
I’m tired of big talk and I’m tired of noise
I’m tired of boys"
Really, though, how many times has a girl in her 20s, 30s, whatever, said something like that to herself? This is a very relateable song, and I love it. The background vocals from Trisha Yearwood make the song that much more awesome. (I just love that she and Garth ended up together.)
Cold Like That is an emotionally charged country ballad about a woman with a cold, uncaring heart. All-American Kid, a story of the High School football hero who joins the military and makes it home alive, all the while his hometown cheering him on.
Rodeo and Juliet is a fun, up tempo, true country track about a rodeo queen laden with Shakespeare quotes (from Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.) I love this. Mostly because I love Shakespeare. But it's also a really catchy song.
Midnight Train is one or my favorite tracks on the album. It's another classic Garth song, though it reminds me just little of the Alan Jackson song, Drive, Not in an "oh my gosh, he ripped him off" way, but in a "I love this sound, this feel, this pace of song. Well done." way. The song plays on like a train chugging along.
Cowboys Forever isn't all about cowboys. It's about the spirit of the Cowboys. How cowboys aren't just farm boys, or cattle wranglers, or what have you, but cowboys have evolved over the years. Cowboys are heroes, humans.
"Now they're cops in the city with their lives on the line
They're truck drivers hauling that freight
They're young soldiers leaving their loved ones behind
They're the ones who pull their own weight"
People Loving People could be the unofficial sequel to 1992's We Shall Be Free from The Chase. Basically the song is saying that we need to love one another, that it will fix all the issues in the world.
"It's people loving people
That's the enemy of everything that's evil
Ain't no quick fix at the end of a needle
It's just people loving people"
Oh, Garth. If only it were that easy. The song is great, the message is great. If only people would heed the message.
Another favorite on the album is the bluesy track Tacoma. A painful story of running away, trying to, needing to, get away so fast that the hurt can't follow.
"I might make it to Memphis
And if that ain't far enough
I'll speed down the highway to Tulsa or Missouri
So fast that the hurt can't catch up
I'm burning your memory one mile at a time
All the way to Tacoma
By then I hope you're of my mind"
I am so glad Garth Brooks is back, His music shaped a lot of my childhood. I'm so glad that this album turned out to be so good. I am really, really enjoying it. And for the record, I still have a music crush on Garth Books.