After arguably the biggest career in country music, King George retired from touring in 2014, taking a well-deserved break and earning numerous awards in the farewell process. However, many fans mistakenly believed George Strait was done altogether–but George never claimed this, insisting he would indeed go on making albums. Enter
Cold Beer Conversation, announced Tuesday in one of King George’s most badass moves to date. Unfortunately for fans, this album can only be purchased on iTunes or by entering Walmart…so is the exclusivity worth it?
Without a doubt.
The album opens with “It Was Love,” a pop country song which is my least favorite on the entire album.
The lyrics are too generic, featuring two teenage kids in love and even referencing a Friday night football game in the opening line. However, unlike most of these songs, this one does tell more of a story, and it is actually pop country. It has grown on me after a couple listens, and I think it will continue to do so. The title track, “Cold Beer Conversation,” is a lighthearted track about two guys sharing a beer and talking–they talk about their women, the past, etc. The instrumentation helps this song a lot, giving it an easygoing feel that matches the tone of the conversational lyrics. The album’s lead single, “Let it Go,” is another fun song about not letting life bring you down. It’s a nice little beachy song that will get stuck in your head quickly. The fun songs continue with “Goin’ Goin’ Gone,” an upbeat drinking song. Mainstream artists, take note–this guy has a job and leaves on Friday to drink. He admits that “come Monday mornin’ I just might be overdrawn”–in short, life is not just one big party without consequences–but at this point, he doesn’t really care because it’s Friday night, and he’s had a hard week. This is a real person drinking, not a frat boy.
The album turns serious for “Something Going Down,” and all I can say is, Luke Bryan, this is how to sing “Strip it Down.” I am so glad this was not overproduced, as George’s vocals really shine here like nowhere else on the album. As you can see by the reference to “Strip it Down,” this narrator is seducing a woman–only these lyrics are focused on the woman, as opposed to virtually everything else in the room. I cannot say much else–you will have to hear it, and I will post it. “Take me to Texas” is a nice ode to Strait’s home state; Strait sings, “when I go, take me to Texas.” The fiddle is appropriately featured in this song, and Strait sings with a lot of heart, which adds to it. “It Takes All Kinds,” co-written by Strait, is a straight-up western swing song. The premise is that “it takes all kinds” to make the world work–but here’s the thing: I believe this is directed at modern country stars. Evidence of this includes lines like “some wear a backwards baseball cap, if that’s you, I’m cool with that, Me, I’m more a cowboy hat, it takes all kinds.” In light of this, I can’t help but smile at the line, “Some got a beer they like to drink, some got a thought they like to think, some got a chain with a few more links, it takes all kinds.”
“Stop and Drink” is another fun drinking song, with the premise “Little stuff like that will make you stop and drink.” The “little stuff” is pretty much everything in life from the heat to Wall Street. Mainstream artists, once again, take note–this is a fun, country drinking song. “Everything I See” is a song about the memories of a lost loved one; the reference to the “sunny day in June” makes one think this was written about George’s father. This song is certainly relatable, but it is overproduced and loses a lot of the emotion that was probably originally there. “Rock Paper Scissors” is next–here, the rock is the ring, the paper is the note, and the scissors were used to “cut his face out of every picture”; she then left the rock, paper, and scissors on the table. This is just an upbeat, catchy song. However, I could do without the line about him blowing up her phone because that line has been done to death.
“Wish You Well” sees Strait in Mexico, drinking away a lost love. He’s “six Mexican beers between ‘wish you were here’ and ‘wish you wel’.” It’s another song that can get stuck in your head like “Let it Go” and is helped by the instrumentation. Next is “Cheaper Than a Shrink,” which was apparently a Joe Nichols cut previously. This is one of my favorites; here, Strait explains that he drinks because “it’s cheaper than a shrink. You don’t have to think. You just pour and drink.” This, this is a country song if I ever heard one, and the instrumentation and Strait’s signature twang really add to this. It seems like George was really enjoying himself when he recorded this. The album concludes with “Even When I Can’t Feel It,” a song featuring nice piano and fiddle in which Strait says that he believes in God “even when He’s silent” and love “even when I can’t feel it.” It’s a nice way to close the album.
Overall, this is another good album from the King of Country. I am excited to see writing credits from Strait, as this is relatively new territory for him. I do think there were moments of overproduction, particularly on “Everything I See.” But for those hesitant to go to iTunes or Walmart, it is definitely worth it. I will post the iTunes link here, but you can only listen if indeed you have iTunes. So I will also post more videos than usual so that you can hear more songs.