Blake Shelton: ‘Body Language’ – Album Review
Blake Shelton’s new album, Body Language, featuring “Happy Anywhere,” “Minimum Wage,” and the title track co-written by The Swon Brothers is out now, May 21st. Read our full review of the project below.
For an artist like Blake Shelton, it would be easy to rest on his laurels, his greatest hits, and his seemingly permanent seat on NBC’s The Voice. However, Shelton has continued to release new music, including a greatest hits collection in 2019 and 2017’s Texoma Shore. Today, May 21, Shelton released his first full-length offering in nearly four years, Body Language.
The album opens with “Minimum Wage,” a hooky uptempo which finds Shelton comparing his woman’s love to money, as that love can “make a man feel rich on minimum wage.” Despite initially capturing some negative and unwarranted social media attention, the song is the perfect intro to Body Language with an anthemic sound that is somehow typical of Shelton while also introducing a new, more confident troubadour.
The title track features former “Team Blake” members, The Swon Brothers, and was co-written by the 2013 The Voice contestants, along with Matt McGinn and Ryan Beaver. When the duo played the song for their mentor, Shelton was immediately taken aback and asked to record what has become one of his favorite tracks. “It’s such a cool phrase,” Shelton says of the title track. “The song has really proven itself over time. Even after my producer Scott [Hendricks] put the album together and listened and lived with it for a while, it jumped out every time and still never gets skipped listening back.”
The sunny side of Shelton is on display on songs like “Whatcha Doin’ Tomorrow?,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Happy Anywhere” and “Makin’ It Up As You Go,” which is the perfect summer track, despite being a breakup song. “How long does it take for a heart to unbreak?” Shelton croons breezily. “I’m just makin’ it up as I go.” Meanwhile, “Happy Anywhere” features Shelton’s fiance, Gwen Stefani, and highlights airy steel guitar punctuated by Stefani’s background vocals.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows on Body Language, however, as Shelton is feeling bittersweet on “Now I Don’t,” reminiscing about his ex and all the ways he’s moved on from his broken heart. Co-written by Jessi Alexander, Alysa Vanderheym, and Michael Hardy, the song has Shelton defiant in the face of heartbreak. “I took a pretty good beatin’ to bounce back // Now I’m back on my feet laughing at the fact // That I ever used to wish I could get you back,” Shelton sings. “‘Cause now I don’t.”
While Shelton experiments with different sounds on Body Language, one of the album’s most tried and true country songs is “Corn,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to the vegetable Shelton has most often surrounded himself with. While it may be silly, it’s a fun and fiddle-filled three minutes. If Luke Bryan’s “Rain Is a Good Thing,” had a long-lost cousin, “Corn” would certainly be it.
“Monday Mornin’ Missin’ You” is Shelton at his most Shelton, with its modern meets traditional country sound, while “Neon Time” is another beachy anthem. Co-written by Jaron Boyer, Michael Tyler, and Ben West, the track is a musical vacation, an ode to slipping into a bar and escaping real life for the weekend. “Yeah, we’re living on neon time // Smoking up the room and clearing our minds // Little lean back and kick it // Little cold beer with it,” Shelton croons. “Let it hit ya just right, yeah // Something ’bout the way the neon shines // It goes perfect with a Friday night // You ain’t thinking ‘bout 9 to 5 // When you’re living on neon time.”
The album ends with “Bible Verses,” a somber and introspective look at a complicated relationship with religion. “As far as saving me goes, it’s a battle up a hill,” Shelton admits as he tries to find solace in the Bible, feeling like he’s not measuring up to what’s inside. For now, Shelton is trying to give himself a little grace, as he longs for a better day. “That I can open up the good book // And heaven don’t look like it’s out of reach // When it feels like those apostles are giving me the gospel // And not the third degree,” He reflects on the stunning track. “Like bible verses and not the bible versus me.”
On Body Language, Blake Shelton stays true to himself, releasing a classic Shelton collection that still manages to sound new and fresh. With songs like “Bible Verses,” “Happy Anywhere,” and “Neon Time,” Shelton has ensured that he’ll achieve the one goal he had with putting out this album. “I want to have some great country songs to sing,” he revealed. “I want people to hear the album and enjoy it.”
Shelton will be hitting the road later this year for the Friends and Heroes Tour 2021, kicking off August 18 in Omaha, Nebraska. The tour will hit Philadelphia on September 2, featuring special guests Martina McBride, Tracy Bryd, Trace Adkins, and Lindsay Ell.
- Body Language
- Happy Anywhere
- Neon Time
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Body Language is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.