Two Lanes of Freedom

Tim McGraw starts and ends this album driving the open road, but he sounds uprooted all through, in search of a fresh game plan. After two decades at Curb Records, McGraw is releasing his first LP for Big Machine, home to Taylor Swift. Between her backup hooks on "Highway Don’t Care" and the Lil Wayne shout-out opening the clumsily punned muscle-country bid "Truck Yeah," McGraw seems determined to reel in young folks. But as usual, he fares better as a relaxed 40-something: mooning over an ex in "Friend of a Friend," predicting future nostalgia in "One of Those Nights," letting guitars climb á la U2 or Tom Petty or hair metal.