Country superstars don't come any more reliable than Alan Jackson. Closing in on two dec-ades on the job, he still hasn't broken his string of strong singer-songwriter records, without ever wandering anywhere near the mainstream-pop spotlight. On Good Time, he doesn't push himself hard, sticking to the familiar themes of "Small Town Southern Man," "Country Boy" and "Laid Back 'N Low Key." When he gets hold of a honky-tonk ditty like "Good Time," he lets it roll on past the five-minute mark just to prove he can. Sometimes he goes overboard, as in "I Still Like Bologna," where he gets sentimental over cold cuts on white bread as a refuge from the world of laptops and cell phones. But his finest songs are always his romantic ballads, and the best one here also sounds like the one he wrote the quickest: "1976," where he sings about meeting his wife in the good old days when "Jimmy Carter moved to D.C./A Georgia boy just like me" and reflects, "Wonder Woman sure looked fine/Bionic Man was still prime time."
Low bitrate averages due to the fact that this album is for once not mastered for sheer loudness; there's actually dynamic range, something quite rare in today's albums of the Loudness War era.