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John Anderson

Nobody's Got It All – 2001 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by John Anderson

John Anderson has now recorded for all five of the remaining major Nashville companies, which may be unprecedented. His career has been one wild roller coaster ride, but it appears that the amusement park is closed for the season. His latest album has neither the exquisite highs nor the agonizing lows that have marked Anderson's career. It just kind of sits there waiting for someone to turn the juice on.

Anderson is in fine voice, and that's good news because he can sing as well as anyone. But too many of these songs are so ordinary that nothing can raise them above mildly pleasant. The album is mellow enough to be considered romantic mood music for hillbillies, except that most of the lyrics are decidedly unromantic. Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City" is the best song, and Anderson really sinks his teeth into it, but mainstream country it isn't - and neither is anything else here. Were Anderson just starting out, or were he on an indie label, he'd be given credit for having made a pretty good Americana album. In the real world, he'll probably just get to look for yet another label.