Garth Brooks: Man Against Machine

The country superstar is back to remind you how he got there

Credit: Pearl/RCA Nashville

Y'all counted out Chris Gaines, but after 13 years, Garth Brooks returns with one of the year's best accidental rock albums. There's no Auto-Tune to smooth his rusty voice, so it's more weathered and honest than the man who left the spotlight. The lyrics play like a sly spin on classic Garth: On "She's Tired of Boys," he's on the other side of the May-December romance from 1992's "That Summer," and the woman doesn't lose her man to the "Rodeo" – she herself rides. With ripping guitar solos, Aerosmith-style strings and gospel-tinged background vocals, this is a record that could take Eric to Church.