Jason Aldean waxes nostalgically about ditching his quaint hometown for the big city on the recently unveiled title track off forthcoming album Rearview Town, showing a different side of a singer often dismissed for his "bro" tendencies.
This time around, Aldean's sound relies less on dance beats and more on classic rock riffs. Instead of celebrating a party-filled weekend, he looks back on how familiarity breeds contempt for ex-lovers stuck in rural America.
The song follows similar examples of Blake Shelton's "I Lived It," Luke Bryan's "Most People Are Good" and other cases of popular stars shunning tired trends in favor of a more traditional approach to country storytelling.
Either these artists and their support teams are reacting to the runaway success of Chris Stapleton's blues-rock and classic country-inspired sound, or it's simply a case of the establishment getting more reflective as they get older. It's just as telling that big labels select these songs as singles, positioning refreshingly different yet comfortably familiar sounds for commercial airplay.
"Rearview Town" Lyrics
Wipe the footprints off my dash
Tore up those sun-faded photographs
Threw 'em in the wind, ya'll can have it back
I'm outta here
I stuck my middle finger up in the sky
Flipped off that "ya'll come back" sign
Looked in the mirror one last time
And watched it disappear
It ain't nothin' but a rearview town
Broken hearts and rusted plows
Roots ripped right up out of the ground
Never thought I'd ever leave it
It ain't nothin' what it used to be
Population minus me
On the other side of that dust cloud
Ain't nothin' but a rearview town
I could tough it out, but what's the use?
A place that small, it's hard to do
Too much of her to run into
And so much road to somewhere new