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Trace Adkins

Comin' on Strong – 2003 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins has always flirted with his sex symbol image, but on here, he seems to have abandoned even the pretense of fighting it and given himself over to that side of his personality entirely. Fully 9 out of the 11 tracks are about love, and mostly not the hearts and flowers kind. It's more the tangled sheets and moaning kind. This album is so erotically charged that after a few tracks, one starts to wonder if maybe the title itself isn't a double entendre.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Country hasn't really had their own version of Barry White's background bedroom music - at least not since Conway Twitty's heyday. But Adkins might be the man for the job. The first single "One Hot Mama" is an erotic ode to married lust. (And kudos for the hilariously sexy rhyming of "a sauna" with "You wanna?") "Then Came the Night" veers into R-rated territory with a remembrance of a man's first time with details involving sweating, screaming and clawing. Even the tunes not overtly concerning the carnal are not for kids. "Rough and Ready" is a rap with the lines "Scarred-up knuckles/Mack belt Buckle / White T-Shirt / Ain't afraid to work / Got a what-are-you-looking-at-asshole" smirk." On "One Nightstand," the singer flirts with suicide.

This is a mature work from a mature artist intended for a mature audience.