Photo: Courtesy of Blue Chair Records

Review: Kenny Chesney surprises with long-awaited album

Album: "Cosmic Hallelujah"

Released: Oct. 28 

Label: Blue Chair Records

Rating: A-

Kenny Chesney debuted his 17th studio album after changing its name and extending its release date, but it was well worth the wait for his fans.

"Some Town Somewhere," renamed "Cosmic Hallelujah" in July, took on its new name because of a song in which Chesney collaborated with P!nk — "Setting The World on Fire" — which influenced him to change the album title to closer resemble how the music made him feel. 

With tracks emphasizing Chesney’s relaxed, blissful style, "Cosmic Hallelujah" seems to make listeners take stock of the small, beautiful things in life that compose its joy and melody. Especially in the track "Setting The World on Fire," he remembers the impact and simple significance of summer love.

Upbeat rhythms with quicker tempos take on more of a pop feel than old country, showing Chesney as a leader of the pop-country genre. Inducing a sing-along feel and a cheerful, emotional effect on those who listen, he can appeal to even to those who aren’t traditionally fans of country music, like myself.

In addition to simplistic, reminiscent themes, Chesney also branches into a rebellious tone. With the song "Bucket," in which he sings about making a bucket list about defying social boundaries, the singer triumphs doing his own thing in life no matter what others think.

Despite the variable themes within the album, Chesney still ties them all together under the album’s title, which accurately reiterates Chesney’s own take on life. "Cosmic Hallelujah" seems to signify that, in life, the world is singing the soundtrack of your life if you only look around and take stock of it all.

Contemporary background vocals and soft electric guitar tones compliment Chesney’s calm voice and peaceful lyrics, perhaps in the effect of comforting his listeners into reverence for the simple and sacred details of life. "Some Town Somewhere" emphasizes this the most with its sway-inducing tune that can even remind USC students of what we all have in common —  our Southern roots or residency.

"Cosmic Hallelujah" is a great album for USC students because its calming effect and simplistic message of enjoying the life we are experiencing now is so relevant to our college lives. In particular for seniors, it’s so important to not take a single moment for granted in our time here, but to instead rejoice in every beautiful memory we are making during these four short years. Just try listening to "Winnebago" and tell me that it doesn’t make you remember a sweet memory. Why not make more while we’re in our best years in college?

While encouraging us to take the best moments of life and make them last in our memories, Chesney also offers a bit of caution to chasing some of the pleasures of life. In "Rich and Miserable," the satirical tone and faster rhythm resembles a speed watch hovering in the minds of young adults like ourselves with our eyes on the prize of financial and material success. Chesney offers lyrics that invite us to think about what’s truly important in life. With a valuable life lesson embedded in a catchy tune, Chesney reminds us that the “American dream never wakes up.”

Overall staying true to his characteristic beachy, enchanting feel, Chesney keeps our minds on making the most of the life we have now, in every moment. Contrasting past memories and present enjoyment, Chesney questions our concepts of success. He seems to ask, "How will you reflect on what really matters in life, and what are you going to do about it?" 

Listen to the album and perhaps you’ll find your answer.



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