They Don't Know
If ain't broke, don't fix it.
And there's nothing broke as far as Jason Aldean's huge country fan base is concerned. His seventh album, They Don't Know, is his second in a row to top Billboard's mainstream album chart. That suggests the market for so-called "bro country"—a more rock-fortifed, beer-fueled take on the genre's traditional themes—is just as strong as it was when Aldean's Old Boots, New Dirt, similarly stomped to the top of the charts two years ago.
As for the dirt in Aldean's lyrics this time around, well, let's just say you're still gonna need a goodly bit of detergent to get it all out of your overalls. And perhaps a painkiller for a hangover the next day, too, given the amount of booze that's guzzled throughout this album's 15 tracks.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
"Lights Come On" celebrates hard work during the week ("You're a crack-of-dawn Monday morning/Coffee strong pouring everything you got/Into a paycheck on Friday night"). The title track also praises the quiet virtues of rural environs and the dignified farmers who live there: "They call us a two-lane, just-passing-by, slow-down town/ … They ain't seen the blood, sweat and tears it took to live their dreams / … Ain't just another field, just another farm/No, it's the ground we grew up on."
"This Plane Don't Go There" pines for a second chance to change the outcome of a broken romance ("Wish I could go back to that spot/The second right before we said goodbye/But this plane don't go there/This plane can't take me back in time"). We hear similar regrets on "First Time Again."
"Lights Come On" is about industrious folk blowing off steam at the end of the week by going to a concert—not a bad thing at all. But Aldean implies that such an event (which he also compares to worship) can't really be fully appreciated without drinking and smoking, too: "A hallelujah high from the floor to the ceiling/Yeah, the drink that we're drinking and the smoke that we're smoking/ … So come on, raise your cup."
Three songs (two of which are breakup tunes) focus almost exclusively on alcohol. "Any Ol' Barstool" involves a man telling an ex that if she wants to know how he's doing, "Ask any ol' barstool in this town." Later, he says he's drinking more ("Sure, I take more Jack in my coke now"), and apparently smoking marijuana, too ("A little more high in my smoke now"). Meanwhile, "Whiskey'd Up" describes how drunkenness dredges of memories of a woman, which leads to still more drinking: "When I get whiskey'd up, that wantin' you again/Starts kickin' back in, and I'm late night callin' you up/My heart starts hurtin' when that bourbon starts burnin'/And I can't help but touch that stuff." And on "All Out of Beer," Aldean admits that a woman he might otherwise say no to is more appealing after he's downed an entire case of suds: "If you'd a got here 'for my buzz kicked in/I'd a told you where to go/ … When I'm 12 [beers] in, helpless/The only time you show up here is when you're lonely/And I'm all out of beer."
Still more alcohol and suggestive sexual allusions mingle on "In Case You Don't Remember," "One We Won't Forget," ""Comin' in Hot" and "Bad." "When the Lights Go Out" is one of only a handful of songs that doesn't mention alcohol as Aldean's lyrics discuss a longed-for night of passion with a lover: "Baby, when the lights go out/I wanna hear that want-you sound/On your lips when I lay you down."
"The Way a Night Should Feel" reminisces about two high schoolers sneaking out at night and apparently making out while driving all the way to the Mexican border: "Do you remember when we snuck out of the house at the stroke of midnight?/ … Your daddy would have killed me if he'd seen me/ … Headed down to Mexico, you were kissing my neck."
Profanities include one use each of "h---" and "a--."
If there's one constant in Jason Aldean's songs, its' alcohol. When life's good, he's drinking. When life's bad, he's drinking. When he's with someone he loves, he's drinking. When someone he loves has left him, he's drinking. When he's singing about hard-working fans at a concert, they're drinking. And when he's talking about some of the hard work they do, it—perhaps not surprisingly—includes hauling beer. ("King of Beers, 18-wheeler driving," he sings on "Lights Come On").
A handful of songs give an obligatory tip o' the hat to the solid work ethic and dignity of his country constituency in flyover country. Most of the time, though, Jason's just drinking.