Dierks Bentley’s career has had a remarkable consistency to it. From his earliest hits like “What Was I Thinkin’?” to the #1 lead single from Black, “Somewhere On A Beach,” Dierks know himself very well. Which means you’re not going to get him doing falsetto or exerting too much on his rock-solid voice. The production — with Ross Copperman at the helm again — suits Dierks’ modern approach on future hits like “What The Hell Did I Say,” “Pick Up,” “Freedom” and songs which expand what we’ve come to expect from Dierks, the stunning tracks “I’ll Be The Moon” (with Maren Morris) and “Different For Girls” (which features Elle King) and rock-infused “Roses and a Time Machine.”
There’s the brooding, melodic “Why Do I Feel” and opening title track “Black” which tell interesting stories and work with Dierks Bentley’s blend of modern country touches along with long-time influences like U2. “All The Way To Me” fits with these two as does the closer “Light It Up.” They all suggest that Dierks Bentley’s is comfortable with who he is and knows a hit when hears it, especially if the hits suit his unique vocal approach. This album is about life and love and all that goes with it and it’s easy to hear that throughout the record. It’s fairly likely that Dierks will release one of the two songs featuring female guests and while “I’ll Be The Moon” might be smart for next spring, “Different For Girls” would make for a great single at any point, especially with the lyrics about how the fairer sex feels emotions in different ways than most every guy does.
Earlier I mentioned how “Pick Up” and “What The Hell Did I Say” are future hits and it’s because they just have a feel of something fans who listen via streaming or radio will eat up. They fit perfectly in modern country playlists and while some may call them “bro” they feel like Dierks to me. “Pick Up” is all about a guy who wants to be with his flame while “What The Hell Did I Say” is all about finding out you did something while too drunk to know what exactly you said to get the girl to come back. It may be a bit “country romance song-ish” but it works like a romantic comedy movie does, you know all the beats but you still really find yourself enjoying it. “Freedom” feels tailor-made for the live show that finds Dierks once again one of country music’s top touring artists and with all of the strong songs on this record ready to be mixed in with his considerable list of hits, Dierks is going to remain a top star for a while to come.