Dierks Bentley's 'Home' Is Full Of Country Struggles | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Dierks Bentley's 'Home' Is Full Of Country Struggles

Play associated audio

Dierks Bentley has a nice, deep voice; an open, friendly demeanor; and a knack for working in a variety of country-music genres, from bluegrass to power ballads. For all that, it's always been difficult to pin down what Bentley aims to do. Although he's only in his 30s, Bentley sounds as though he's working through a bit of a midlife crisis on his new album Home. Take, for example, the single "Am I the Only One," a novelty tune about going out to party with a twist — not many of Bentley's pals want to join him, because they've settled into adulthood, and he hasn't.

With its talk of wanting to "throw down" with his "bros," Bentley sounds a little desperate in "Am I the Only One," and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that that's how he wanted to come across. It may be that where Bentley's most ardent feelings reside are in his ballads, which tend to soar with big choruses bursting with romantic sentiments. One of the best ones on the album is called "In My Head."

When Bentley really slows things down, he can grind to a near-halt. I'd say he carries his earnest melancholy a bit too far in the seven-minutes-plus dirge "Thinking of You." It's that long to accommodate a coda which features his 3-year-old daughter singing some of the lyrics to her daddy. Country music and hip-hop are among the last refuges for such shamelessness.

As the titles of "In My Head" and "Thinking of You" suggest, Bentley spends a lot of time pondering the vagaries of love — he wants you to know he's a thoughtful fellow in every sense. He may be at his best, though, in more up-tempo songs with novelty-tune twists — such as the charming, if slightly condescending, "Diamonds Make Babies."

I like the way Dierks Bentley is trying to work through a new passage in his career over the course of Home. He sounds restless, sometimes impatient, sometimes stubborn, as though he can will his audience to expand and grow along with him. Like much of that audience, he's reached a point where he's not playing around anymore, where there's a lot at stake with each career move he makes. The question is whether the way he frames that struggle can be as much of a musical soundtrack to your life as it is for his.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jon Stewart's Replacement Is Unlikely Choice For 'The Daily Show'

"The Daily Show" replaces departing host Jon Stewart with South African comedian Trevor Noah. He is a relatively unknown comedian and an unlikely choice for the program.
NPR

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has gaps, and we'd all be safer if federal food safety efforts were under one roof.
WAMU 88.5

Q&A: Maryland State Sen. John Astle On 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law Monday evening declaring every March 30 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." WAMU spoke with Astle at his office in Annapolis.
NPR

Bringing Internet To The Far Corners Of The Earth

About 5 billion people are mostly or entirely disconnected from the Internet. So to capitalize on this opportunity, Google and Facebook have begun high-profile campaigns to connect the unconnected.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.