Tim McGraw is country's tough-but-tender specialist, at ease enough in his Stetson to forsake macho posturing and plunge into emotional thickets. His 11th LP is his most assured, with a dozen sharp songs about middle-American struggles. Strong storytelling redeems cheesy stuff like "Touchdown Jesus," as does the music, a savvy mix of down-home twang, pop tunefulness and rock heft. (There's even a Ne-Yo duet, "Only Human.") But McGraw's at his finest reckoning with demons over a cresting chorus: "I ain't as good as I'm gonna get," he sings on the album's latest single, "but I’m better than I used to be."
Listen to "Better Than I Used to Be":
star ratingModern Vampires of the City
- star ratingRandom Access Memories
- star ratingLSXX: Last Splash: 20th Anniversary Edition
- star ratingThe Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film
- star ratingMother
- star ratingTime