Granted, Brown’s good-ole-boy persona never drifts far from the surface, and any number of tracks reinforce that notion. In that regard, The Comeback resonates exactly as intended.
The Comeback seems a curious title for Zac Brown’s latest venture, especially given the fact that it’s only been two years since the last, and there’s only been a slight slowing of their momentum. The fact is, no comeback is needed.
As it’s pointed out, Brown and his band have accrued six consecutive top 10 albums in the U.S., five of which debuted at no. 1, over the course of the past decade alone.
That’s in addition to winning three Grammy Awards (including Best New Artist in 2010), sales of more than 30m singles, 9m albums, and 15 no. 1 radio singles. Those are some hefty credentials.
Fortunately, Brown provides some needed clarification. The name refers to something larger: the need to revisit the needs of humanity, after a prolonged period of distancing and disconnect.
Its songs revolve around resilience and shared sentiments that need to be recognized and revisited, as people come together once again and hopefully rekindle their relationships.
The album establishes that premise from a personal perspective. ‘Slow Burn’ is a song that brings back memories of first love, when life seemed promising and there was no possibility of obstacles appearing in the way.
‘Out in the Middle’, ‘Us Against the World’ and ‘Paradise Lost on Me’ take a similar stance, mostly rock-steady, decidedly determined songs that cast their imagery from down-home designs and the simple joys of living life, unencumbered by pressure or expectations.
Other tracks delve deeper into that honesty and emotion. The earnest ‘Wild Palomino’ speaks to the need to find commitment, even while respecting the space required in order to retain a measure of independence and flexibility. The jaunty ‘Same Boat’ speaks to a common cause, regardless of specific beliefs or philosophies.
On the other hand, the slow stride of ‘Stubborn Pride’ - featuring some soaring guest vocals and wailing guitar work from Marcus King - makes it clear that all individuals retain a measure of passion and purpose that not only makes them who they are, but also empowers them to live life according to their own needs.
In that regard, ‘Fun Having Fun’ regales in the simple joys of good times and fond reflection.
Still, it’s the tenacious title track, an affirmative anthem that finds a certain similarity to one of Bruce Springsteen’s epic arena offerings, that sums those sentiments up succinctly:
“The only good thing about getting knocked down / is coming back when it comes back around”
Granted, Brown’s good-ole-boy persona never drifts far from the surface, and any number of tracks reinforce that notion. Love songs and imagery spawned from rural retreats dominate the proceedings — ‘Any Day Now’, ‘Closer to Heaven’ and ‘Love & Sunsets’ provide specific examples — but even then, it’s the hope and yearning that reinforce the communal connection.
In that regard, The Comeback resonates exactly as intended.
The Comeback is out now via Warner Music Nashville.