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Album Review | COUNTRY

Billy Ray Cyrus, ‘Change My Mind’

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Billy Ray Cyrus claims that what he is trying to capture here is the music of his youth: bluegrass, Southern rock, gospel, and country. The claim is absurd: “Change My Mind” is primarily shaped by an ’80s hair-metal aesthetic, accompanied by Southern and other rock elements; it’s standard-issue arena country. Again and again, Cyrus’s production choice is to slather pounding, up-front drums, screaming guitars and fiddles, and wailing background singers on to songs that are uneven to begin with (take “Hope Is Just Ahead,” a series of bromides strung together into a song, or lyrics like “I love my truck, love to drive it fast, if you don’t like the way I drive, you can [fill in the blank],” from “Hillbilly Heart”). He fares better when he manages to keep the histrionics in check (most notably on “Tomorrow Became Yesterday”), and a Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired reworking of a song (“I’m So Miserable”) from his 1992 debut album turns out well. Moments like those aside, this is an album that doesn’t have a lot to recommend it. (Out tomorrow)

ESSENTIAL “Tomorrow Became Yesterday”

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