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Album Review

USA Today recently dubbed Brett Eldredge "country music's most eligible bachelor." And given that this 31-year-old Paris, Ill., native sings confessionaly about his desire to find lasting love, that seems an apt title.

"You gotta be honest with where you are with love," says Eldredge, whose smooth-voiced style splits the difference between, say, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. "It does open another door to a lot of people coming up to me and saying, 'I think we're meant to be together.' I sing about wanting to find love … and I think a lot of people connect with that, because half the people out there haven't found it yet, either."

Eldredge's eponymously titled fourth effort effort landed at No. 2 on Billboard's mainstream album chart, his highest debut since he arrived on the scene back in 2013. And I suspect the sentimental, occasionally suggestive songs found here won't do much to shorten the line of women lining up in the hope of becoming Mrs. Eldredge.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

"Love Someone" is a good example of the kind of "sweet nothings" song that might make female fans go weak in the knees. From start to finish, it's a nonstop compliment about a woman's beauty: "Oh baby, would you look right there/The way the sun is hitting your hair/The way the world just stopped right there/In mid-air, I don't ever wanna move." Later Eldredge adds, "Sure feels good to love someone/When you laugh at the way I dance/When you smile, when you hold my hand." There's more of the same on "The Long Way," where Eldredge sings, "Don't think I've ever seen your kind of pretty." Infatuation quickly leads to a desire to know more about this woman's life: "I'd love to see where your daddy met your mama/ … Take me the long way around your town."

Eldredge sings to a longed-for future love on "Haven't Met You": "There's a half a million sunsets I haven't got to show you/ … I don't know what you're doing, I don't know where you are/But I swear, girl, when I meet you, you already have my heart."

On "Superhero," Eldredge sings about loving someone who's brokenhearted: "Oh, that girl needs a superhero/Walk up to her, pull her in real close/Her broken heart ain't a thing no more." And lest anyone criticize him for having a sexist salvation complex, the song concludes, "Everybody needs a superhero/All the world needs a superhero," underscoring the need we all have for committed, protective love.

"Something I'm Good At" playfully confesses a litany of weaknesses before landing on the one thing Eldredge thinks he's really good at: making a woman smile. "No Stopping You" tells the story of a man who falls in love with a young woman whose dreams are bigger than his. He willingly lets her go, yet pines for the day she might return. Flipping that script, "Castaway" finds a commitment-phobic guy wondering why he always runs instead of committing to a woman he says he loves.

Tender, heartfelt "Brother" narrates the tight bond that two loving, loyal brothers share: "When I couldn't see, you always found a way to believe in me," Eldredge says of his brother.

Objectionable Content

"Cycles" is probably most problematic song on the album. In it, two people who know they aren't right for each other keep hooking up, then splitting up. "Then you knock, and you'll come in," Eldredge narrates, "If you come in, then you'll sit down." From there, it's drinks, laughs and lust: "And if we drink, you know we'll laugh, and if we laugh/We'll get closer, if we get close/We'll lose our clothes, and then we'll/Fall back in love for a while." But it never lasts: "[You] walk out the door/ … We're meant for each other/'Til we ain't made for each other."

"Love Someone" alludes to a couple spending the night together, although these lyrics might be as much about comfort as they are sex: "'Cause when I wake up in the middle of the night/You're holding me tight." Eldredge also sings, "You knock me out, kiss by kiss." (A couple of other tracks mention the joy of kissing, though they never go beyond that.)

Someone who's been romantically rejected nurses his hurts with alcohol on "The Reason." And that response to his emotional pain prompts him to call his ex in order to (perhaps unwisely) pour out his heart again: "The reason I called you drunk/Is I need your love so bad, so bad it hurts." (That track also includes two uses of "d--n," and we hear one more instance of that profanity in another song.)

There are several references to alcohol, including a reminiscence on "Brother" about getting drunk at a bar and getting into fights. "Crystal Clear" includes the line, "Party all day, party all night."

Summary Advisory

I think it's safe to say that Brett Eldredge is a romantic. His songs repeatedly express an earnest longing for love, with nary a cynical wink suggesting otherwise.

A few lyrics cross the line into more sensual territory (especially in the relationally dysfunctional relationship in "Cycles"). But more often than not, Eldredge's thematic focus is on what seems to be a genuine desire for lasting love and companionship, not just sex.

This batch of 12 songs isn't without some problems that need to be navigated. That said, there are far fewer of them than we might expect from an eligible country bachelor looking for love.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Country

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 2.

Record Label

Atlantic Nashville

Platform

Publisher

Released

July 4, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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