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Kenny Chesney

When the Sun Goes Down – 2004 (BNA)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Kenny Chesney

The music and image of Kenny Chesney can sometimes be paradoxical, since this hunky beach bum of a singer is often at his best when he's being dead serious. Jimmy Buffett fans, with a hankering for a Southern accented country singer, will eat up much of this new release - especially his duet with Uncle Kracker on "When the Sun Goes Down" and the get away plans expressed through "Outta Here."

Yet Chesney's tender approach to reflective songs like "When I Think About Leaving" are well worth meditating upon after the liquor's all gone and the party's over. Although it never mentions sun or sand, "Some People Change" contains an excellent lyric about the way people can overcome bad habits and historically unkind thinking. The aforementioned "When I Think About Leaving" finds Chesney turning to brief spoken word sections during a song that wisely re-thinks the impulse to break off a still-worthwhile relationship. The album also contains a few live Chesney tracks, including "Live These Songs" and "What I Need to Do."

He would have been better off, however, seeking out a few more musical forums for his empathetic side, because whenever the sun goes down here, Kenny Chesney successfully explores the darker sides of life.