Blake Shelton, ‘Based on a True Story’

On NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” — which, wouldn’t you know, returned Monday, the day before this album’s release — Shelton is likable, funny, and more thoughtful than is required of a reality show. Between his perch in the big red swivel chair and his recent ACM/CMA triumphs, Shelton is the reigning king of pop country and he’s wearing it well. He continues to dance with the one who brung him on “Based,” working through good-time, paint-by-numbers singalongs (“Boys ’Round Here” “Country on the Radio”), novelty chucklers (“Still Got a Finger”), and earnest ballads (“Do You Remember”). Tailgates are lowered, ice-cold beers consumed, pretty girls ogled (but they like it), kisses stolen to George Strait songs, and any other popular country trope is deployed for maximum radio play. Much of it is perfectly acceptable. All of it is executed competently. But only a little of it — like the closing, dusty story song “Granddaddy’s Gun” — is truly compelling. The album may be based on a true story, but it doesn’t offer enough personal touches to distinguish it from a lot of other tales coming out of Nashville. (Out Tuesday) SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “Granddaddy’s Gun”

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