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JJ Rocks CD Review: Garth Brooks: MAN AGAINST MACHINE

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JJ Rocks article # 288: CD Review:

This review is being posted on November, 26, 2014, days before the official store release of the brand new Garth Brooks CD "Man against Machine". I'm just calling it the way I hear it without giving away any of the stories. There is no wrong or right, good or bad, agree or disagree. This is just one man's opinion. 



As I listen to the title cut of this new Garth Brooks adventure "Man against Machine", my first impression is not only does it display a different, darker, and almost theatrical direction for Garth, but  diehard fans might find this track a little harder to follow than some of his previous chart toppers.
Some listeners may think it should be on a different project designed for newer, younger, alternative GB fans. Then again, maybe that is what's going on here.
Lyrically the song Man against Machine has common threads with other Garth songs that speak out for the hard working class. You just have to get used to a different musical approach that is now carrying that message. But what a great production!


Great lyrics and originality on this one! But I don't think you will be singing along with the chorus right away because it takes a few times of listening to get it down. That kind of takes away from the overall "catchy" aspect of the tune, but the story is well worth your attention.
Even though the song is not as unique and memorable as other Garth Brooks recordings that made him famous, this writer can appreciate his more artistic approach on this current project. Can his fans? I hope so.


This one has a quick hook that is very easy to sing along with and a nice change to a slightly "Pop" side from what I have heard so far. But in contrast to the other songs where there is a lot of story before the chorus, this one grabs you right away. The only problem is that you really have to listen close the first time around to understand what he is singing about because the main theme comes at you very quick. But obviously in time after a few plays of the tune you will get it.
I am not focusing on any storyline at this time because the overcooked hook is all that is in my head right now. But hey, it's easy to remember because he say's the title around 18times in this song. A new record for him as far as I can remember.


Now this is an example of the Garth Brooks we all know and love! Great story and personal delivery. He had my attention from the first word to the last (man sometimes I wish I could give away the story line.... but I won't). This one is total Americana and true to the heart. What more could Garth Brooks fans ask for?

5. MOM:

Yes! Again another great storyline. Actually it's one of those songs where the lyrics overpower the music so much that the desire to sing along at first takes a back seat because your heart is too busy feeling the story. Super song Garth!


Great hook and witty lyrics throughout! And with simple melodic dobro lines weaving it all together and bringing it back down home,Wrong about you is right on point with some of the great Garth Brooks classics.


I'm loving these great story songs! And with an entirely different groove it's  totally in place with classic GB projects. Solos are everywhere on this one, not only giving the boys in the band a chance to blow of some smoke, but also staying true to the western swing genre and all those who just want to play their butts off! And I love that "Hold that Tiger" riff at the end!


This great classic "Train time" groove keeps this song rolling along as smooth as silk. The lyrics are definitely on cue with other Garth songs that paint pictures of Americana in red, white and blue. And I love it!


Staying in the traditional feel of "Cowboy Bill", another unforgettable GB sound emerges as he musically sets the mood of the old west. I had a five play addiction on this one! Hey Cowboys, check it out!


With a slightly alternative intro, a mild folk rock overtone, and highly overplayed story theme, People loving People still has a bit of freshness compared to all the other "We are the World" type compositions out there. Good simple sing along song.


With the first two notes reminding me of  "The Dance", Send 'Em on Down the Road is not just another ballad with a cool story line. It really hits a home run into family life and raising kids. If you love great lyrics you will most likely be playing this one over and over. 

12. FISH:

An old fashion country song in theme, this fish may be a little too deep for some classic GB fans, while others will love it's freshness. The Question in this writers mind is it's market value. Is this fish easy to catch on the first hook? 


Dark at first, "You wreck me", though a great musical composition from a writers point of view, may escape the attention of all of us "tough guys" because of .......well, just listen to the song. I'm sure that all my fellow members of the "stand your genitals ground club" will not be sticking out their chest on this one. Great song, one sided lyrics.


With a classic R+B feel, Tacoma captures the gutsy side of Garth Brooks like never before. And along with a groove from one of  the finest eras in modern music, Garth also shows intense  emotion and perfect delivery that just seemed to be waiting for the right time to let it all out. This one kills and leaves you stuck in your seat asking for more. What a great close to a CD that is about to open new doors. 

In conclusion, I think that this long awaited Garth Brooks CD will get many mixed reviews because some of the songs break the molds of what most fans were probably expecting from this incredibly talented man. But as Bob Dylan once said "The times they are a changing", and so is Garth Brooks.

Whether or not he will ever get back the exact same magic of songs like "The Dance" or The River", the super catchy and witty lyrics of "Friends in low places and "No body gets off in this town", or the high energy of "Baton Rouge" is not the point here. It's about breaking new ground and the many more creative adventures that are still stored up inside of a true musical pioneer who has had the last 13 years to refine them.

A great musician once said "It's all in the song". But even a greater major label executive once told me "JJ, It's all in the marketing".

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