Gary Allan – Living Hard

Gary Allan – Living Hard / 2007 MCA / 11 Tracks / / /

“Living Hard” is the eight studio album for Gary Allan, and marks the second time that Allan has reached #3 on the US 200 charts (eir highest showing). While “Living Hard” did not top the US country charts as “Tough All Over” and “Greatest Hits” had done in 2005 and earlier 2007, this higher mainstream showing is a positive sign for someone that is trying to become a household name. “Watching Airplanes” provides individuals with a style of country that could easily be mistaken as a Bon Jovi track; the track has been a major staple on the country stations for a while now, and aside from a slight bit of twang in Allan’s voice, one would be hard to tell that Allan is considered a “country” singer.

“We Touched The Sun” continues with this heavily rock influenced sound; if it wasn’t for Allan’s vocals, the track could easily be something that is released by a late-era, former hair metal individual. “We Touched The Sun” has a little bit more of a modest approach to it, which could do well for Allan if ey continues that for a part of the album, only giving up that façade when ey puts forth eir next hit. “She’s So California” continues the general sound of “Living Hard”; the cohesion enjoyed by the tracks on this album is substantial, but Allan is talent enough by this point to go forth and vary each song somewhat, enough to keep individuals interested and the momentum of the disc high.

“Like It’s A Bad Thing” changes up the balance slightly to put Allan’s vocals in the forefront – these confident vocals and catchy guitar lines that battle out during the track make “Like It’s A Bad Thing” into Allan’s next hit.  “Learning How To Bend” is a much more softly stated and slow track for Allan, and the inclusion of a more atmospheric approach to things gives the song a much different feel. At points during “Learning”, Allan even approaches the domain of an individual like Dave Matthews, which should do wonders for a serious attempt to be played on the pop market.  Gary Allan has been around for quite a few years at this point, and the polished, smooth sounds of “Living Hard” show this maturity. The only place that Allan has to go is #1 on the US Top 200 – and I feel that ey can do that for eir next album.

Top Tracks: Living Hard, Learning How To Bend

Rating: 6.8/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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