Hippo Manchester
September 22, 2005

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CD Reviews
by Robert Greene

Brooks & Dunn, Hillbilly Deluxe

Arista Nashville, 2005

*

I still haven’t forgiven Brooks & Dunn for 1992’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” and I may never. The song was a mega hit, sure, but to me it symbolized all that was wrong with country music of the day. It was empty, soulless — in short, it was pop.

I was less than delighted to see the boys have learned little in the ensuing 13 years. Hillbilly Deluxe is a highly polished, nicely produced, danceable vacuum of a CD. It has more in common with Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson than Hank Williams and George Jones. If Maybelle Carter were alive, she would weep.

Country music is roots music, and it tells stories. Sometimes it’s fun and funny, sometimes it’s crying-in-your-beer tragic. But it’s almost always honest and meaningful.

The only song that even approaches that on Hillbilly Deluxe is “Believe.” Listening to “Play Something Country,” the track that became a single, I kept hoping that Brooks & Dunn would. Sadly, they did not.