Brooks & Dunn hit the commercial wall when 1999's Tight Rope became their first album to fall short of even Gold status. They responded by amping up their music with a barroom swagger rooted in the sounds of their young adulthood: early/mid-1970s Southern and British rock. Steers and Stripes and Red Dirt Road displayed renewed drive and purpose, but the strategy seemed to have run its course with 2005's loud but static Hillbilly Deluxe. B&D's latest, Cowboy Town, again leans heavily (and noisily) on country's age-old booze/bromide song axis. It's the "weighty" tunes, like the Amber Alert-referencing "God Must Be Busy," that make you squirm. The lightest fare - Brooks's swampy "Drop in the Bucket," Dunn's fast 'n' loose "Tequila" - hits the hardest, and the truest. When it comes to music and thinking, boys, less really is more.
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