46: Who Needs Pictures (Brad Paisley)

Album: Who Needs Pictures
Artist: Brad Paisley
Year: 1999

1. Long Sermon
2. Me Neither
3. Who Needs Pictures
4. Don’t Breathe
5. He Didn’t Have to Be
6. It Never Woulda Worked Out Anyway
7. Holdin’ On to You
8. I’ve Been Better
9. We Danced
10. Sleepin’ on the Foldout
11. Cloud of Dust
12. The Nervous Breakdown
13. In the Garden

Around the time Brad Paisley hit the country scene I was bemoaning the loss of the country music I loved in the early 90’s. I was grateful someone who could play guitar and write honest music (that didn’t rely on being a good ol’ boy) was getting radio play. Sadly, Brad is the last new country artist I have an album from, on this countdown or otherwise. I like a song or two from some of the new people, though almost exclusively from the ladies (e.g. Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry), and never an entire album. It all just sounds so samey, poppy, and uninteresting.

That said, I think Brad has been failing a bit as of late. I haven’t particularly enjoyed his last two albums either, partly because he’s now secure enough in his career that the good ol’ boy stuff is coming out. Not Toby Keith territory by any means, but I just have no interest in hearing another singer talk about how awesome being a redneck is.

His first album had none of that, and it’s an amazing debut. Long Sermon is about how annoying it is when a pastor keeps going and going when the weather is gorgeous outside, and he continues with the tongue-in-cheek humor with Me Neither and a couple other songs. What launched his career, however, were his ballads. Who Needs Pictures is a pretty awesome breakup song, and He Didn’t Have to Be is a touching tribute to stepparents. The Nervous Breakdown shows Brad’s mad skills with the guitar, and his version of the classic hymnal In the Garden is way better than any I ever heard in church.

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