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Album Review | Country

Jason Aldean, ‘Night Train’

Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” keeps the Georgia singer on the track he rode up the charts with “My Kinda Party”; there’s lots of good-time rock ’n’ roll, some clumsy rapping that name-checks a country star of yore (Joe Diffie this time), and a steady hankering for fooling around in a pick-up truck. The traditional tones and textures of country music are largely lost in the array of guitar solos that sound like Bon Jovi audition tapes. Aldean takes country tropes — small-town kinship, rugged individualism — and often delivers them as stereotype, not story. Aldean broke through as a live performer, and the songs on “Night Train” are suited to stir those arena — and now stadium — crowds. But not all of the 15 tracks chug toward bluster. “Staring at the Sun” is an effective bit of loping yearning. “Drink One for Me” lets Aldean hoist a toast without sounding like a hayseed frat boy. “Black Tears,” a song about a downtrodden stripper, offers edge, heart, and drama. And the wistful “Water Tower” is a sweeter musing on home than is its counterpart, the screaming Springsteen-lite “This Nothin’ Town.” (Out
Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Staring at the Sun”

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