Try as hard as I might, while listening to Billy Currington’s fifth studio album We Are Tonight, I couldn’t get one thought out of my head: Currington has been spending too much time with Kenny Chesney.
Currington’s latest effort will perhaps appeal to his most ardent fans, but after showing the ability to record brilliant songs like “Must Be Doing Somethin’ Right” and “People Are Crazy,” maybe my own expectations were too high. The album is exactly as its artwork and titles suggest – a feel-good, relaxed, puff-puff-pass vacation on the beach. In today’s extremely competitive marketplace, Tonight simply falls flat.
The album starts out strong enough, with lead single “Hey Girl.” Admittedly, the song is a bit of a different vibe for Currington. The theme and the banter matches the 40-year-old’s appeal as a single, care-free good boy, and it works for this song. But “Wingman,” in which his pal takes away the girl, is downright idiotic. “One Way Ticket” comes straight from Jimmy Buffett’s yacht, and “We Are Tonight” continues country’s current obsession with one night stands. There’s no flavor, originality, or personality to this album. “Closer Tonight” comes close to the vein of “Doing Something Right,” but the latter is better written and better conceived.
The few highlights here are “Another Day Without You,” an elegant, jazz-flavored song about losing a lover, “Banana Pancakes,” a cover of the Jack Johnson song, and “Hallelujah,” a Warren Brothers’ track that may be Currington’s only saving grace in getting another country radio hit. That’s not to say that the album sounds something other than what today’s radio would play; simply, the songs aren’t worthy of wide-spread airtime.
It’s sad to think that the man who recorded “Don’t,” “Good Directions,” and “Let Me Down Easy” has fallen into a trap of his own making. Currington has so badly type casted himself that the selection of songs available to him have the quality of tide driftwood. Maybe his next studio album will take him back to the good ole days. But for now, it seems this good ole boy is stuck on the beach.
Recommended tracks: “Hey Girl,” “Banana Pancakes”