I mean this in the best possible way. And these days of Spotify and playlists – all of which have meant music has become personal rather than communal – maybe has meant no one looks anyway, but honestly, you can tell everything about Dylan Scott from the cover of “Livin’ My Best Life”.
The good, clean, American boy (with the perfect teeth) from small town Louisiana. The guy you can take home to meet your Mom (the only time you’ll ever see that spelling of the word on this site), the guy who works hard, loves Jesus, loves a beer on a Friday night, loves a fishing pole, his buddies and might just have a past.
Then you listen to the 16 songs that make up the album and its all confirmed.
When I was growing up, as I have written in other reviews, we’d see a tape with the red and white Atlantic spine and that would be it. You were getting some high quality rock n roll, whether it was Ratt, Skid Row, Dangerous Toys, it didn’t matter.
It’s a bit like that with Curb Records. The home of Scott and countless others. You know what you’re going to hear, and its that distinct sort of country that mythologises the small town, the blue collar and the backroads.
This – from the opening “New Truck” – is absolutely that. It deals with the very real problem that if your girl has left you then everything reminds you of her. And you know what? Like you’d expect given that there’s a team of the best writers in country (Hardy is included) it’s fabulous.
“Amen to That” does the pop thing. Basically the girl has stayed this time and she’s an angel, and “Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl) is a ballad that taunts you with how ace his girl is. If that sounds like a pattern, then it is. And its one that sees gold mined for.
“In Our Blood”, a duet with Jimmie Allen is one of the best. A plea for unity, its as good as it gets. “Static” which follows is idyllic. The sort of thing that makes blokes like me want to emigrate to the South. How much is real, who knows?
As well as having the best, most country voice, Dylan Scott co-writes eight of these. “Lay Down With You” is classic country flavoured, and another of the self-penned ones “Boy I Was Back Then” sees him saved by love, and that is basically the theme throughout.
The title track is an anthem. It rhymes “yolo” with “solo” and just for grins ads “slo-mo”, and if “Killing Some Time” has the idea that Jason Aldean’s tunes aren’t big enough, then good grief he does it well.
“Ain’t Much Left Of Me” (guess what completes him, you have one go) and “Leave Her Alone” (she’s his now, not yours) are polished and modern, but this beats with a classic heart. They are all around three minutes long and all work on the principle that you shouldn’t bore us, just get to the chorus, and that doesn’t matter whether it’s a ballad like “Tough” or something a little more pop like “Hell Out Of Me” (his “country boy confession”), the formula is here.
And it works. “Nobody” has a bit of a gospel sound but the 94 million people that have streamed the thing on Spotify can’t be wrong, right? Likewise, you’ve heard “Good Times Go By So Fast” and “Nothing To Do Town” before, but that doesn’t matter. Not a bit. Because everyone, everywhere can recognise themselves in these songs and moreover, everyone can sing these songs.
File under listening for modern times. “Livin’ My Best Life” is an example of how to get into country’s premier league.