(2019) State I'm In

Aaron Lewis

... read moreAaron Lewis went country at the dawn of the 2010s, so by the time he got around to delivering State I'm In in 2019, he knew what worked for him and what didn't. Namely, he stripped away the angst left lingering from Staind -- "Reconsider" could be rejiggered to sound like a brooding power ballad...

40′:19″ 10 Songs

1
The Party’S Over
Aaron Lewis
3:34
2
Can’T Take Back
Aaron Lewis
3:38
3
Reconsider
Aaron Lewis
3:51
4
It Keeps On Workin’
Aaron Lewis
4:17
5
State I’M In
Aaron Lewis
3:01
6
God And Guns
Aaron Lewis
3:45
7
Love Me
Aaron Lewis
5:46
8
If I Were The Devil
Aaron Lewis
3:58
9
Burnt The Sawmill Down
Aaron Lewis
3:31
10
The Bottom
Aaron Lewis
4:58
Released 12 April 2019, ℗ 2019 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

Review

Aaron Lewis went country at the dawn of the 2010s, so by the time he got around to delivering State I'm In in 2019, he knew what worked for him and what didn't. Namely, he stripped away the angst left lingering from Staind -- "Reconsider" could be rejiggered to sound like a brooding power ballad, yet its arrangement here isn't quite so heavy -- and decided to put all his chips on a swaggering Waylon Jennings cosplay. To that end, producer Buddy Cannon turns out to be an invaluable collaborator, capable of re-creating the sound of Jennings at his '70s peak. Cannon makes State I'm In sound lean and mean, purposefully conjuring ghosts of honky tonk heroes. Lewis plays with these memories, too, borrowing a song title from Willie Nelson ("The Party's Over"), twisting another from George Jones (Possum's "Burn Another Honky Tonk Down" is the forefather of "Burnt the Sawmill Down"), and dropping references to his idols along the way. All this time, singing country works in Lewis' favor, since he now knows how not to overplay his hand, either as a singer or a writer. Despite its crowd-pleasing title, "God and Guns" doesn't quite pander, but a better sign of his growth is how he plays with jazzy phrasing on "The Bottom," a closing number that demonstrates that even if Aaron Lewis has found his comfort zone as a country singer, he's willing to stretch its limits somewhat. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine