I had never heard of Andrew Pope until Megan clued me into this album. She lured me in with the promise of lots of steel guitar, which I’m sure everyone who reads my reviews knows I love. As this is Andrew Pope’s second record, I was excited to hear it. This is because most of the artists I’ve learned about recently have quite a few other albums out, and I was hoping to find a newer artist to like. As it turns out, I definitely have.
This is a very country album. It features lots and lots of steel guitar throughout most of the songs, as I’ve previously stated. There are lots of heartbreak songs too, and you can’t get deeper into the roots of country music than That. Andrew Pope mixes things up with some great songs about family and life being a musician, among other things. The instrumentation is skilled enough to stand out, though some of these songs are overlong. One big criticism I have about this album is that Pope likes to have pauses between some of his lines that last for a few seconds. It’s one of the things that immediately stood out for me, as he does it quite often. It’s not my favorite, and it bugged me a lot.
The title track kicks off this album in style. “Stoned on the One” is one of the best songs on here. It’s a great heartbreak song about missing his girlfriend, and the memories of her that he clings to. I especially love the chorus. “Honky Tonk Tragedy” is a fun song about a musician who’s tired and broke, but he wouldn’t change his life for anything. “I Wish I Was in Austin” is all about Pope wishing he were in Texas, playing music with Willie Nelson and soaking up the atmosphere where good country music is still loved. As someone who’d love to visit Texas, I definitely relate to that!
After this comes “Runnin’ After Rainbows”. It’s a standard song about a girl who can’t love someone, and there being nothing the man can do about it. This song features a metaphor of the girl trying to heal a heartbreak by driving down a highway, chasing after rainbows. “If I Go Crazy” is your average song about being too proud to admit how affected someone is after he’s left by his girlfriend. The chorus goes “If I go crazy, tell her I’m doing fine”. My problem with this is that being too proud to admit that you’re hurt has been done thousands of times. “Even Ramblers Get the Blues” is about a rambler, of course, but he sometimes gets tired of going from city to city, with nothing to hold him anywhere. All he has is his guitar and strangers. It paints a very stark picture.
“Redneck CEO” is one of my favorite songs off of this album. It’s all about his grandfather, who taught him everything he needed to know. He says that fancy boots and three-piece suits could learn a thing or two from his honest farmer of a grandfather. Now, we come to my least favorite of the album. It’s supposed to be a fun song about going into town with his girlfriend where she doesn’t have to dress up, but really, using the words “granny panties” just makes everything weird. I could probably appreciate this song without those mentioned, but as it is, it just feels wrong to me. “Country Congregation” is a good song about there being no discrimination in the country community, if you love country instrumentation and songs, you’re in. I like the theme here, because he’s saying it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, happy or sad. Everyone’s welcome. “Everything’s Changing but Me” is yet another favorite song on this album. The world seems to be going crazy, but he stays the same. He feels out of place in today’s world, which is definitely relatable to a lot of people. I know it definitely resonated with e.
“Whiskey Gets Me There”tells the story of a man not wanting to feel the pain of his ex leaving him. The only thing that makes him numb is whiskey. It’s another cliche song about drinking to forget your problems. I like the acoustic guitar in this song, and how it strips everything back to just Andrew Pope’s voice, though. “Stormchaser” uses the imagery of storm chasing to talk about how a man keeps chasing heartbreak. I quite like how descriptive the lyrics are. “Through” is a nice way to close the album. It could be seen as the end of the heartbreak songs, with him finally saying he’s through with the pain of his relationship, and he would never go back to being with his girlfriend or wife again. This song was stretched out to accommodate for some really good solos, but I’ve always been a lyric person so this wasn’t really my thing.
Overall, I found this to be a good album. I wish that some of the songs were shorter, and again, those pauses between the lyrics really stick out for me. However, there is some awesome steel guitar featured on almost every song, and his lyrics are just varied enough to make most of the tracks stand out. I recommend this if you like traditional country music with a good backing band, as well as descriptive lyrics.