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Kenny Chesney

Welcome to the Fishbowl – 2012 (Sony Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney is synonymous with all things summer and good times. "Welcome to the Fishbowl" is a radical departure. If you're going to drink a beer and listen to this album, you may need a Prozac chaser. It is a bit short on fun as Chesney deals with terminal illnesses, loss of privacy and lost love.

It leads off with the catchy Come Over, which is in the same vein as Lady A's Need You Now. On Sing 'Em My Good Friend, a man selling an old guitar full of memories relates the story of a woman suffering from cancer.
"She spends her days downtown hooked up to some machine
They say time can heal, but time can't heal everything
The lord's gonna take her home real soon flyin' on, angels wings"

Equally depressing is While He Still Knows Who I Am where a son vows to spend more time with his father before he slips into the inevitable grasp of Alzheimer's. The heavy-handed lyrics seem disingenuous, and he is not very believable delivering such sad material.

Thankfully, there are a few reprieves from the melancholy with the stadium ready Tim McGraw duet Feel Like A Rock Star and toward the end on Time Flies which advises the freshly single...
"Sail Away the Captain
Feel The Jolly Roger
Talking to a Cutie
Heading for the booty"

Now that's more vintage Chesney. While it may be his standard party boy fare, it's the material he delivers best. The album doesn't feel like he's evolving, but rather like a diversion.