Jon Pardi: ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ – Album Review
Jon Pardi’s brand new album, Mr. Saturday Night is out now, September 2nd on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.
The best thing about Jon Pardi is that he’s unapologetically himself. The Capitol Records Nashville singer has never been one to chase trends or release music that isn’t true to his authentic country sound, which continues on his new album, Mr. Saturday Night, out now.
For the California native, his fourth full-length album represents the type of albums he grew up on, influenced by trailblazers like George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Keith Whitley, and Buck Owens. This isn’t an album meant to be a flash in the pan, but instead, something to be listened to over and over, discovering new nuances and intricacies with each listen.
On Mr. Saturday Night, Pardi is much more than just a cowboy hat singing party anthems. Instead, he delves much deeper, both lyrically and musically, mixing the best of stirring ballads with dance floor ditties.
Produced by Pardi, Bart Butler, and Ryan Gore, there’s no autotune or drum tracks on Mr. Saturday Night. Opening with the title track, the tone is immediately set with a lyrically sad song hidden within what may initially seem like a simple fun tune. “I feel like everybody wants to be Mr. Saturday Night at one point on the weekend and have a good time,” shares Pardi in a statement. “But then you hear the song and – the way it’s so well written – it’s a sad song, but you don’t go there right away, because it’s also a fun song. That’s the thing about ‘Mr. Saturday Night,’ it’s more than meets the eye. It’s all fun until you get to the chorus.”
Like the clever lyrical contradiction of the album opener, other titles that may catch listeners off guard are the final two tracks, “Smokin’ a Doobie” and “Reverse Cowgirl.” Of the former, Pardi reveals, “We had rented a house and watched this crew member kinda slipping down to the banks of the river, just grabbing a moment and firing up. Rhett (Akins) out of nowhere started singing ‘Smokin’ a doobie on the Guadalupe…’ The song fell out! I don’t think it was 40 minutes before we were done.”
Meanwhile, Pardi admits that when he was initially sent the track “Reverse Cowgirl” he refused to listen to it because of its questionable name. However, after one listen, he was hooked. “I played it as a joke. One listen in, we couldn’t stop listening! The girls loved it…,” He says of the song that enlists the effervescent Sarah Buxton on background vocals and Jenee Fleenor on fiddle. “It’s romantic, but it puts a smile on your face; makes you happy, sad, laugh, all at once. Plus, when you hear that fiddle, you’re right back to Strait in the ‘90s.”
Songs like “Longneck Way to Go,” “Fill ‘Er Up,” “New Place to Drink,” and “Workin’ On a New One” are amongst the twangy, two-steppable drinking songs on the album. Yet, none sound like anything that’s on radio, each pairing Pardi’s recognizable drawl with classic country instrumentation of drawling banjos and slide guitars.
“Fill ‘Er Up” features slide guitars and chaotic country keys as Pardi is “chasing that good time with all my rowdy friends” before ending the song with a very Elvis-like “thank you.” Meanwhile, “Workin’ On a New One” has him well on his way to yet another hangover. “I swore my last hangover was my last hangover,” He drawls. “But I’m workin’ on a new one tonight.”
Meanwhile, “Santa Cruz” and “Neon Light Speed” are more breezy love songs. The latter finds him falling in love on the dance floor, while “New Place to Drink” finds him in search of a new bar to get away from a woman who broke his heart.
The current chart climber, “Last Night Lonely” is a clear standout, as is the gritty “Your Heart or Mine.” Here, he finds himself in a gasoline and matches type of relationship that both swear “ain’t love.”
“Is it your heart or mine? // Is it whiskey or wine? // Is it something in the night making us // Want to cross that line? // Girl we’re playing with fire // Love ain’t too far behind // It’s just a matter of time // ‘Til it finds // Your heart or mine”
Pardi shows his softer side on “Raincheck,” “Hung the Moon,” and “The Day I Stop Dancing,” each offering a different perspective on love. On “Raincheck,” he’s trying to move on with someone new, but isn’t quite ready, crooning, “Tonight I just want a whiskey // And sit here alone // Flip through the pictures of the memories on my phone // And jukebox some Whitley // ‘Til the lights come on // You look so right // But girl it feels so wrong // I thought I could show up // Get drunk // Get this heartbreak gone // But tonight I need a raincheck on movin’ on”
On the flip side, both “The Day I Stop Dancing” and “Hung the Moon” are more straightforward love songs. On the former, he promises never to stop dancing with someone he loves, while the latter finds Pardi grappling with his outlaw side in the eyes of a woman who loves him anyway. “I never thought I’d meet an angel // That could slow down this heart of a rolling stone // Yeah I’ve made mistakes // Done everything under the sun a man can do // Yeah but she still thinks I hung the moon.”
For Jon Pardi, Mr. Saturday Night is the perfect continuation of an already stellar body of work. Both lyrically and instrumentally, the collection elevates Pardi as an artist and is his most cohesive and timeless offering yet.
Jon Pardi – Mr. Saturday Night Track List:
- “Mr. Saturday Night” (Benjy Davis, Reid Isbell, Joe Ragosta)
- “Fill ‘Er Up” (Jon Pardi, Ross Copperman, Brice Long)
- “Last Night Lonely” (Jimi Bell, Joe Fox, Dylan Marlowe)
- “Neon Light Speed” (Andy Albert, Josh Dorr, Paul DiGiovanni)
- “New Place To Drink” (Jon Pardi, Jessie Jo Dillon, Luke Laird)
- “Your Heart Or Mine” (Bart Butler, Justin Ebach, John Pierce)
- “Santa Cruz” (Jon Pardi, Luke Laird)
- “Longneck Way To Go” (Midland featuring Jon Pardi) (Rhett Akins, Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Ashley Gorley, Mark Wystrach)
- “Raincheck” (Will Bundy, John Edwards, Michael Tyler)
- “Workin’ On A New One” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Luke Laird)
- “Hung The Moon” (Will Bundy, John Morgan, Jameson Rodgers)
- “The Day I Stop Dancin’” (Bart Butler, Justin Ebach, Josh Thompson)
- “Smokin’ A Doobie” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Luke Laird)
- “Reverse Cowgirl” (Zack Dyer, Joe Fox, Jared Scott)
*Produced by Bart Butler, Ryan Gore, and Jon Pardi
Country Swag Picks:
- Fill ‘Er Up
- New Place to Drink
- Reverse Cowgirl
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Jon Pardi will appear at the sold-out rooftop at Pier 17 on September 22 as part of his Ain’t Always the Cowboy Tour.
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Mr. Saturday Night 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.