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Mark Wills

Familiar Strangers – 2008 (Tenacity)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Mark Wills

"Days of Thunder is in the same vein as 1980-Something with the character thinking back about a time in their life, complete with the cultural references that made 1980 so unique. This time, the singer tells us about one enjoyable teenage summer. The Georgia native represents one of the south's most popular regional tourist attractions, Panama City, Fla. on not one but two songs. One is a party anthem, the not bad, but somewhat forgettable Panama City about "partying all night while we sleep all day." He paints a much more interesting picture of the town and summer romance in the ballad Her Kiss, clearly the album's highlight.

Take It All Out On Me speaks directly from a man who's trying to get his lover to relieve some stress with a little TLC. It seems more like something that would be recorded by Billy Currington.

Wills is especially strong on the ballads, like Things We Forget, where he reminds us to appreciate all of the blessing we have in life, and The Likes of You. He's less impressive when he goes face-first into that redneck cliche pitfall. Rednecks Anoymous is somewhat amusing, about a group that meets to discuss things like trading in their cars for monster trucks. Crazy White Boy, an uptempo rocker, makes little sense and falls flat on its face, redneck cliches in hand.