Tag Archives: Brooks & Dunn

8: Brand New Man (Brooks & Dunn)

Album: Brand New Man
Artist: Brooks & Dunn
Year: 1991

1. Brand New Man (D)
2. My Next Broken Heart (D)
3. Cool Drink of Water (B)
4. Cheating on the Blues (B)
5. Neon Moon (D)
6. Lost and Found (B)
7. I’ve Got a Lot to Learn (D)
8. Boot Scootin’ Boogie (D)
9. I’m No Good (B)
10. Still in Love with You (B)

I’ve pretty much run out of things to say about Brooks & Dunn.  So I’ll just say their debut album is sensational, the first song I ever danced to was Neon Moon, and I have a client with paranoid schizophrenia who loves playing Lost and Found for me on his guitar.

16: Hard Workin’ Man (Brooks & Dunn)

Album: Hard Workin’ Man
Artist: Brooks & Dunn
Year: 1993

1. Hard Workin’ Man (D)
2. We’ll Burn That Bridge (D)
3. Mexican Minutes (B)
4. Heartbroke Out of My Mind (D)
5. She Used to Be Mine (D)
6. Rock My World (Little Country Girl) (B)
7. That Ain’t No Way To Go (D)
8. Texas Women (Don’t Stay Lonely Long) (B)
9. Our Time Is Coming (D)
10. I Can’t Put Out This Fire (B)
11. Boot Scootin’ Boogie (Dance Mix) (D)

Brooks and Dunn’s first album was Brand New Man, so it was hilarious that they decided they were a Hard Workin’ Man for their second album. It was hard to make jokes about it, though, after just two minutes as the title song is just about the perfect country song. Loud, energetic, great guitar work. Definitely a top five song of all time for me, and my favorite driving song despite clocking in at less than three minutes.

The album doesn’t let up there as We’ll Burn That Bridge is a perfect follow-up song. Lyrically it’s nothing all that special, but the chorus has an insane crescendo that keeps the blood pumping.  The pace slows down for Mexican Minutes, appropriately. It’s pretty solid, showing off Brooks’s then good voice. Then what was a perfect album flies off the rail thanks to a terrible song by Dunn. Heartbroke Out of My Mind sounds lame and and it is. Awkward rhythm, blah piano, insipid lyrics.

Dunn makes up for it with She Used to Be Mine, which is as simple as you can get from a ballad but it showcases his powerful voice. Rock My World is an overrated country line dance number that actually ends with the studio crowd singing along. That Ain’t No Way To Go was another huge hit for Dunn, and in addition to showing off his amazing voice again, has a fantastic guitar intro. Texas Women approaches country swing and is fine filler.

Unfortunately, Dunn regurgitates another awful ballad in Our Time Is Coming. It’s a sad song that inspires no emotion. It’s not near as bad as Heartbroke, but I usually skip it all the same.  The album saves itself with a rare great ballad by Brooks. I Can’t Put Out This Fire has a solid chorus and Dunn sings a good harmony.

It feels weird to include a dance remix of a song in this review, but Boot Scootin’ Boogie (off their first album) is actually improved in this version as it adds a motorcycle, more harmonica, more piano, and a few more choruses. It’s one of the most popular line-dance songs ever and how to make it better other than doubling everything that was awesome?

Hard Workin’ Man is easily a top 5 album if not for two missteps by Dunn, but it leaves a really impressive nine-song album to listen to anyway.

35: Steers & Stripes (Brooks & Dunn)

SteersStripes.jpg (400×400)

Album: Steers & Stripes
Artist: Brooks & Dunn
Year: 2001

1. Only in America (D)
2. The Last Thing I Do (D)
3. The Long Goodbye (D)
4. Go West (B)
5. My Heart Is Lost To You (D)
6. Good Girls Go To Heaven (D)
7. When She’s Gone, She’s Gone (B)
8. Ain’t Nothing ’bout You (D)
9. Unloved (D)
10. Deny, Deny, Deny (B)
11. Lucky Me, Lonely You (D)
12. I Fall (B)
13. Every River (D)
14. See Jane Dance (B)

Come 2001 I was worried about Brooks & Dunn as their music had been slowly worsening over their past few albums. The first time I spun this I was floored. Part of that, in retrospect, was my low expectations. But I was happy to see my favorite country artist come back and put together something great.

Only in America is probably the least annoying flag-waving song in country music, as it’s more about opportunity than arrogance, but it still reveals some ignorance about luck and circumstance. Thankfully, the rest of the album sticks with the duo’s bread-n-butter, relationship songs. Trisha Yearwood helps out on The Last Thing I Do, which is a lyrically improved version of the standard “trucker’s comin’ back home” song. The album’s major hit is The Long Goodbye, which isn’t terribly inspired but showcases Dunn’s amazing, amazing voice. I’m not sure anyone in country music can do a break-up ballad like Ronnie Dunn. Simply gorgeous.  His voice is also showcased well on My Heart Is Lost To You and Unloved, the latter surprisingly not released as a single. Every River, the worst song on the album, was released however, and predictably was the album’s only single not to be a top ten hit.

Kix only gets five of the fourteen songs on the album, but he does his best. One of his best five songs, When She’s Gone, She’s Gone, is a beautiful break-up song that is more about breaking up with New Orleans than the girl. Kix was always the stronger songwriter, and he really puts you in the city.   See Jane Dance is as dumb as it sounds, but Brooks knows it and it’s pretty inoffensive.

Brooks & Dunn released three more albums after this one before they broke up, and none of them were able to reach what they did here. Their songs eventually seemed less like collaborations than two guys doing their own thing and just combining their work for a release. I was neither surprised, nor sad, when they broke up.  But they had an awesome run.

74: Waitin’ on Sundown (Brooks & Dunn)

Album: Waitin’ on Sundown
Artist: Brooks & Dunn
Year: 1994

1. Little Miss Honky Tonk (D)
2. She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind (D)
3. Silver and Gold (B)
4. I’ll Never Forgive My Heart (D)
5. You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone (B)
6. My Kind of Crazy (B)
7. Whiskey Under the Bridge (D)
8. If That’s the Way You Want It (D)
9. She’s the Kind of Trouble (B)
10. A Few Good Rides Away (B)

Brooks & Dunn’s career spanned from 1990 to 2010.  During that time, they released ten albums and fifty singles.  Twenty of those singles reached #1 on the country charts. They were definitely stronger during the first half of their career together. What’s unique about this duo is that they almost never sing together on a song, with the possible exception of the chorus. They almost never wrote songs together either.  Dunn would write a song, sing it, and Brooks would rock out the guitar. Or Brooks would write a song, sing it, and Dunn would do the same. I put their initials after each song so you can see the breakdown.

Waitin’ on Sundown is their third album. It isn’t their strongest, but what it does do avoid some of the faults prevalent on their later albums, mainly boring power ballads by Dunn and awful singing by Brooks as his voice went to hell during the last decade.

For the third album in a row, they start out with a loud, rockin’ number in Little Miss Honky Tonk that’s great to sing and dance to (not that I dance). Another hit follows right after that showcases Dunn’s spectacular voice. Silver and Gold is the underrated gem of the album, similar in theme to She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind, but more original. You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone is one of Brooks’s best and most popular songs. In fact, only six of his songs were ever released as singles (despite him contributing about 50% to each album), and this was the only number one. There’s nothing special about it lyrically, but it’s wrought with sadness that comes through in his voice.

The last half of the album is a bit weaker. My Kind of Crazy is inoffensive enough that I usually don’t skip it, but there’s no reason to listen to it. The next two songs sound fine, but are really, really boring thematically (but not as boring as Dunn gets on later albums, trust me). Brooks ends with two songs, both of them above average. She’s the Kind of Trouble is goofy fun, and A Few Good Rides Away is a sappy but pleasant story about a Texas waitress going through rough times.

All in all, nothing really stands out, either good or bad, making it just good enough to make the countdown.