Contemporary country is the most formulaic of pop music, and as his latest record confirms (again), Kenny Chesney has burnished his formula to a sheen. There’s the “sun and sand and drink in your hand” entry (“Time Flies’’ posits the islands as therapy). There are celebrations of good-timing (“Feel Like a Rock Star,” a duet with Tim McGraw) and good loving (the treacly “To Get to You (55th & 3rd)”), set off against melancholic ruminations (the subtle
“Sing ’Em Good My Friend”) and weary reflectiveness (“Always Gonna Be You”). The balance may be tipped more toward the wistful side than usual, and there is Chesney’s requisite small-town nostalgia (“I’m a Small Town”). He tries his hand at social commentary with the thumping title track, about the erosion of privacy that technology has wrought. As consistent and meticulously constructed as ever, “Welcome to the Fishbowl” is die-cast Chesney. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Sing ’Em Good My Friend”
Kenny Chesney performs at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 24-25.