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Song Reviews

Brad Paisley – “Anything Like Me”

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Brad Paisley may be Nashville’s wittiest lyricist, but he is most certainly its most substantive. Paisley’s songs are loaded to the hilt with lyrical furniture and essential story elements, with nary a wasted word present in even in his wordiest journeys through sentimentalism, self-reflection and silliness.

“Anything Like Me” is nothing if not wordy, but it’s difficult to complain about a song being too dense when each line serves up valuable insight into the characters and their feelings. And, to that end, there’s not even a sliver of this song that fails to add detail to Paisley’s self-portrait.

It’s just that in the end, we’re left with something that looks more like a high-quality reprint than an original work of art.

Although the impetus for the song’s story is the birth of Paisley’s son, “Anything Like Me” is an entirely self-reflective work in which Paisley uses a series of flash forwards to project his past onto his son’s future, thereby illustrating numerous details about his own character.

But we already have a fully formed image of his character, thanks to 2007′s “Letter To Me.” From rambunctious early days to devastating broken hearts, the two songs run Little Bradley through essentially the same life experiences on essentially the same timeline.

It’s not like Paisley needs to re-create himself with every release. After all, when you’ve concocted a formula as successful as his, why venture too far from it? But this song is plainly self-derivative—from the lyrical concept to the track’s sauntering mid-tempo pace to the sly insertions of Paisley’s trademark humor.

What’s the point of creating a doppelganger?

Jim Malec is a journalist whose work has appeared in American Songwriter, Country Weekly, Denver Westword and others. He is the founder of American Noise and former Managing Editor of The 9513.

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