Monday, August 9, 2010

Brad Paisley, "Anything Like Me"

It seems that half of Brad Paisley's hits have dealt with nostalgia and sentimentality, while the other half dealt with novelty and humor - with varying results.  His current single, "Anything Like Me," finds him balancing the two concepts with remarkable dexterity.

With "Anything Like Me," Brad rebounds from the pointless inanity of his previous hit "Water" - a song that totally bored me to tears (and occasionally made me have to go to the bathroom). The lyrical theme is one that Brad, as well as his co-writers Chris DuBois and David Turnbull, can relate to - that of raising boys.  Brad sings from the perspective of an anxious father-to-be who discovers that he and his wife will soon have a son, and instantly begins fretting over what will happen if his son is "Anything Like Me."  He envisions his son climbing a tree too tall, riding his bike too fast, and trying to melt a Tonka truck with a magnifying glass.  As the song nears its end, he slowly becomes more optimistic, concluding that "there's worse folks to be like," though the lyrics give little insight into what positive traits the son is likely to inherit.

One of the strongest characteristics of "Anything Like Me" is its relatability.  It will surely strike a chord with parents who have raised boys, as well as men who were once unruly little boys themselves.  Because of that, the humor is likely to hold up even after repeated listenings.  The song is tastefully delivered in a simple acoustic arrangement with touches of bluegrass.  Appropriately, the arrangement is kept low-key, which keeps "Anything Like Me" from sounding like a novelty song.

The concept of this song is similar to that of Brad's 2007 mega-hit, the equally memorable "Letter to Me."  Both songs see Brad looking back into his youth with mixed feelings, and both include delicate touches of humor.  Though "Anything Like Me" is far from being his first foray into this particular lyrical territory, it's an enjoyable one nonetheless.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)