Album Review: Kenny Chesney - Life On A Rock
By: Matt Bjorke
Kenny Chesney has long been known for his love of the Islands and the lifestyle it gives him as a break from the rat race and pace of life that he has as a globe-trotting, Stadium-filling superstar. It's a lifestyle he's often chronicled on tracks from past albums and his Lucky Old Sun album in 2008 and and 2005's Be As You Are: Songs From An Old Blue Chair. It's where Kenny feels at home the most but rather than being a side project like the latter, it's more of a fully-realized actual record project like the former.
The album's lead single "Pirate Flag" is a hit on the radio charts and for good reason as it tells of that lifestyle but in an easily relatable story which finds Chesney singing of the various ways that one can set up their "Pirate Flag" and drop anchor anywhere in life. It's a theme that also comes across in "When I See This Bar," a story of good times and life lived with a core group of friends who all come to the same place and it's not a place that necessarily is only for those who love the slower pace of life in the Caribbean or island life in general.
"Lindy" is a strong, well-written story song about an island bum but it could be about any 'town bum' and while not likely to be a radio single, the song is one of the better tracks on Life On A Rock. Because Life On A Rock is a collection of songs that discuss life on an island, it only makes sense that songs like "Coconut Tree" and "Spread The Love" are on this record. "Coconut Tree" features Willie Nelson and it's a laid-back pairing that works quite well while "Spread The Love" is all about peace and harmony and feels like a long-lost Bob Marley song. Speaking of Marley, he's referenced on the Chesney and Tom Douglas co-write "Marley."
"It's That Time Of Day" and "Life On A Rock" both are self-written tracks on the record (as are "Lindy" and "Happy On The Hey Now") and they're very much a peek into the lifestyle and view of life that the Islands give to Kenny Chesney. "Life On A Rock" feels like a potential radio hit while "IT's That Time Of Day" is all about the time of day when the day ends and people go back to their life, be it for the day or for a while to come as people leave the paradise and "return to civilization." Perhaps the best song on the album, "Must Be Something I Missed," It's jazzy, bluesy and all kinds of ear-pleasing with a lyric that is simple and on point and when reading the writer credits, it's easy to see why as it was written by Kenny and Mac McAnally (The writer of "Down The Road").
Fans expecting a collection of songs that are just like the radio hits from Kenny or other singers of the moment will largely be disappointed by Life On A Rock but if you truly take in the album for what it is, a strong, well-written and well-made album meant to take you out of whatever is chaotic in life, you'll be in for one of the best albums of Kenny Chesney's career.