Country superstar Blake Shelton released his seventh studio album, "Based on a True Story ...," on March 26. The three-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year has put out an album that is sure to please both loyal and new fans.
The Oklahoma native stays true to his country roots, but his coaching position on the hit show, "The Voice," has widely expanded his audience, calling for a slight expansion in genre. This album shows that Shelton can tap into the pop scene with ease. The shift might disappoint loyal Shelton fans who have been following him since the '90s, but the man has a way of using his charm and big vocals to woo anyone into whatever he sings.
"Based on a True Story ..." opens with "Boys 'Round Here," a collaboration Shelton did with his wife, Miranda Lambert, and her band mates from Pistol Annies. The song carries pop and hip-hop undertones with Lambert and her girls contributing catty vocals and sass. Following is the album's first single, "Sure Be Cool If You Did", which instantly caught fire and is still climbing up the music charts. The pop-driven song closely resembles Luke Bryan's "Drunk On You."
Then, of course, are the classic upbeat Shelton songs about that certain gal who the country sensation seems to effortlessly bring to life in "Doin' What She Likes" and "Ten Times Crazier." "Doin' What She Likes" is a precious, light-hearted song about being in love with a girl and flipping the world over for her if that means making her happy. In it, Shelton sings about calling in sick to work, making margaritas, whispering in her ear and flying past second gear, all because these things are what she likes.
The best part about the album is undoubtedly Shelton's ballads, which are embedded in with the exploration of his new songs. "My Eyes," "Do You Remember" and "Mine Would Be You" all go back to that '90s country singer who is known for his low coo and storytelling styles in "Austin" and "The Baby." Loyal fans will appreciate the sensual "My Eyes," featuring Gwen Sebastian's mezzo-soprano vocals that just melt into Shelton's as they serenade each other to come a little closer. Also, the more upbeat, seductive love song "Lay Low" carries a George Strait sound and showcases Shelton's vocal range.
Overall, "Based on a True Story ..." is an impressive display of tracks, ranging from Shelton's classic country to more of a pop-driven exploration, but what else would one expect after hanging out with Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green and Christina Aguilera?
Shelton will kick off his "Ten Times Crazier" tour July 19 in Virginia Beach, Va., and he will bring his contagious personality and music to the Thompson-Boling Arena stage Sept. 27. More information about "Based on a True Story ..." or the "Ten Times Crazier" tour can be found at www.blakeshelton.com.