For the past 11 years Jason Aldean has delivered a sound that is uniquely him. His new project They Don’t Know continues this trend with 15 tracks (his forth consecutive album to contain that much music) which blend the crunchy rock guitar-driven songs like #1 hit opener “Lights Come On” and the moody, atmospheric title track. The latter song, written by Jaron Boyer, Kurt Allison and Josh Mirenda is a thematic partner to previous Aldean smash “Fly Over States.” This one, an anthem to the people who live in the lands in the “two lane just passing by, slow down town(s).”
While those kind of crunchy, rock-laced songs have been Aldean’s bread and butter, he’s always had diverse albums with interesting tracks and They Don’t Know is no different. “Whiskey’d Up” is one such song as are “Reason To Love L.A.,” “That Plane Don’t Go There,” and “All Out Of Beer.” All of them offer strong lyrics, and melodies. Two other interesting and strong songs are “Any Ol’ Barstool” and “First Time Again.” The former, a song written by Josh Thompson and Deric Ruttan, tells the tale of a man who is out livin’ it up at bars all over town instead staying home alone wallowing in his sorrows over the loss of his relationship. The latter song, a duet with Kelsea Ballerini, feels like a radio-ready anthem just like Aldean’s superpower duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay” was with Kelly Clarkson. Here, the song mixes Beatles-like melodies with an emotive lyric about the one that got away.
Other standout songs on the album include “When The Lights Go Out,” “Bad,” and “Comin’ Hot.” They’re all potential singles from the sing-song-y sultry vibe of “When The Lights Go Out” to melodic mood-altering tones of “Bad” while “Comin’ In Hot” takes an interesting lyrical phrase and makes it feel like radio’s next summertime anthem about getting out and partying.
Fans have longed for less of the loop-filled “bro” country and that’s pretty much what they get with They Don’t Know. The album is another solid, well-made collection which should make those fans happy while keeping critical types happy with its diverse melodies and lyrical stories.