There’s been an aura of mystery around Tim McGraw‘s upcoming album, Damn Country Music, and its title track. The song’s name raised some eyebrows from fans who wondered what exactly the 48-year-old country star was trying to say about the genre. Instead of giving a cultural commentary on the state of country music, McGraw’s new video shines a light on the realities of life as a high-profile musician outside the glitz and glamour.
In many ways, “Damn Country Music” stays on the same musical path of many of his recent releases. Over the years, McGraw’s music has evolved from lighthearted honky-tonk bangers to emotional and reflective story songs. As he’s gotten older, his focus has locked onto subjects like family, mortality and long-lasting love.
With the release of this new single, McGraw is taking figurative a step back to observe all the ups and downs that have brought him to where he is today. It’s one of McGraw’s strongest releases in recent history because of its honesty and deep-rooted country sound. Even though the production is polished and modern, the old-school combo of driving pedal steel alongside a powerful vocal pays homage to classic sounds of 1960s and 70s country.
Superstardom is a double-edged sword, and McGraw knows it doesn’t last forever. Even when “the money, the fame, the lights on your name all fade away,” he still admits that he’ll never get away from that damn country music.
McGraw’s fourteenth studio album, Damn Country Music, hits stores on Nov. 6.