Album Review

Kenny Chesney - BORN

The No Shoes Nation figurehead has delivered the quintessential Kenny Chesney album.

Kenny Chesney BORN Cover Art
March 22, 2024 2:37 pm GMT

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Kenny Chesney - BORN

Label: Blue Chair Records / Warner Music Nashville

Producer: Kenny Chesney & Buddy Cannon

Release Date: March 22, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Born

2. Just To Say We Did

3. Take Her Home

4. Few Good Stories

5. Thinkin’ Bout

6. Guilty Pleasure

7. One More Sunset

8. Top Down

9. The Way I Love You Now

10. This Too Shall Pass

11. Blame It On The Salt

12. Come Here, Go Away

13. One Lonely Island

14. Long Gone

15. Wherever You Are Tonight

Kenny Chesney, the figurehead behind 'No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems', has delivered his quintessential album with Born.

It’s been four years since his last record, with the Knoxville singer-songwriter noting that this unhurried approach allowed him to be more deliberate about the moods, textures, themes and sounds that made the cut for his highly-anticipated 2024 project.

Sometimes, crafting a project over this length of time can give an album a disjointed feeling, as songs documenting the emotions of earlier cuts jar with those crafted more recently. On rare occasions, though, this measured, leisurely process produces a masterpiece – and that’s exactly what’s happened with BORN.

With one of the most formidable discographies in country music stretching back to the ‘90s, newer releases run the risk of being overshadowed by some of his earlier classics. But on BORN, as he coalesces musings on grief, carefree summer toasts and angsty vignettes of heartbreak, Chesney offers listeners an all-encompassing self-portrait that reveals layers he hasn't touched on previous records.

Chesney digs deeper on this record, becoming his most candid on bittersweet tracks like ‘One More Sunset’ and ‘Wherever You Are Tonight’. The latter is undoubtedly the keystone to the project, epitomising Chesney’s often under-appreciated ability to portray the subtleties of loss and grief with a level of observation few artists can capture.

BORN reminds listeners that Chesney is so much more than just a Beach Country artist. Of course, his coastal lifestyle remains a crucial element of his personality, radiating warmly through infectious, light-hearted anthems such as the witty, undulating ‘This Too Shall Pass’ and the breezy, sun-soaked ‘Blame It On The Salt’.

From top to bottom, Chesney weaves a rich, vibrant tapestry that encompasses life in all its eclectic beauty. Over the course of this journey, BORN feels simultaneously larger-than-life and deeply intricate. Kenny reminds you that you’re just a speck of sand in the grand scheme of things, before cracking open a cold one for you on the beach. Each song is laced with optimism as he refuses to relent in his mission to feel everything life has to offer.

For portions of the album, Chesney doubles-down on the blueprint that has served him so well in the past, storming onto the stage with the seize-the-moment battle-cry of ‘Born’, deftly stripping away the production for the unassumingly beautiful ‘Take Her Home’ and showcasing his enchanting baritone on the piano-driven ‘The Way I Love You Now’. Still, he refuses to rest on his laurels, exploring new territory on the alluring ‘Top Down’, which cruises sinuously along a sultry electric guitar riff.

At its core, regardless of whether Chesney is navigating the murky, turbulent waters of grief, staring wistfully off into an ocean sunset or simply enjoying a poolside margarita, it all feels unquestionably sincere. BORN is a record that further cements Kenny Chesney as one of the most consistently soul-stirring artists of the past two and a half decades.

9.5/10

Kenny Chesney's 2024 project, BORN, is available March 22 via Blue Chair Records/Warner Music Nashville.

For more on Kenny Chesney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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