Tim McGraw is arguably one of the biggest country singers to have ever graced the genre. Ten years since the release of his eleventh album Let It Go, and there denying the fact that McGraw has had a diligent career. Jumping from genre to genre, Let It Go contained serene tracks like “I Need You’” and foot-tapping, rocky anthems such as “Between the River and Me”, which create a whole new meaning to the word ‘country’.
Whether you’re a fan of Tim McGraw or not, listening to Let It Go compels you to become immersed into his country world. His endearing charm, gruff and hypnotic tones attain depth with every song, allowing him to gain complete control over your emotions: heartbreak, anger, lust, vulnerability, are just a few of many. He knows what he is doing and you are entirely under his spell. What makes the album so special is the raw essence of McGraw’s talent, his voice carries us through song by song and it never grows tiresome.
“Last Dollar (Fly Away)” opens up the album and captures the upbeat, fairly nonchalant feeling of a man who is happy despite being down to his last dollar. Overlooking the poorly used metaphors and mixed up messages the song has a sincere innocence to it, having his children join in at the end also adds to its likability and warmth. Moving away from the “I’m a poor man but you are all I need” cliché, he adds a twist, revelling in the fact he is free with nothing to lose. Written by Big Kenny of the Country music duo Big and Rich, the combination of the lyrics “But look at me still smiling” and the continuous rhythmic guitar beat captures the emotion of a man who is at that particular moment in time, content with life. It introduces the album perfectly and fuels the anticipation of what’s to come.
Following on from the sincerity of “Last Dollar”, he continues to showcase his loveable personality in “Suspicions”. The five-minute song revitalises an eighties smooth ballad from that of Urban Cowboy and it definitely holds a fulfilling outcome. The folky guitar arrangements have you listening to the lyrics whilst swaying uncontrollably to the beat. McGraw’s vocals exude insecurity “I get these suspicions, even though I know that you love me, baby”, you can’t help but adore him that little bit more for worrying about every guy in the room wanting to steal his girl. The lyrics are true and although the sound is a tad old-fashioned it is extremely charming and gives off that retro feel.
Swaying to the beat seemed to be a common theme with this album, “Shotgun Rider” has you imagining sitting on a front porch relaxing on a sunny afternoon as if on a ranch in Texas. Multiple guitars play a fairly soft percussion driving the beat fairly quickly. The sound stays plateaued with much of the same instrumental arrangements repeating throughout, therefore, making this a very memorable and warm track that encourages a pleasant atmosphere and creates a certain serenity. The slight amalgamation of rock is soft and complementary adding depth rather than overpowering the track which provides an amiable listen.
From retro country styling to more rock-informed affairs, it seems McGraw has an eye for intertwining genres. “Put Your Lovin’ On Me” and ‘Between the River and Me” both provide the essence of rock. Setting the theme for the song he opens with “I was fifteen when my daddy died, mama worked two jobs just to get by”. The harsh guitar riff crescendo in the bridge and the dark lyrics combine to create a bleaker side to McGraw’s album which had not been explored in previous songs. Even so, it builds that relationship between the audience and the singer, the enjoyment is still present, however you now feel like you know him a little more which provides that intimacy which evokes excitement in the audience.
Let It Go was a milestone in McGraw’s career and it will continue to be listened to for years to come. Although some tunes are a little old school and retro it all adds to the pleasure, and what sells is McGraw’s ability to build that rapport with his fans. Good beats and crafted, heartfelt lyrics combine to create an all round fun album. Tim McGraw is undeniably one of the greatest country singers there is, long may his creative and diligent career continue.