I've been a huge Dierks Bentley fan since his eponymous album dropped in 2003. Follow up albums Modern Day Drifter and Long Trip Alone were both great, showing strides vocally, but all three followed a pretty good formula--a handful of really sorrowful hurtin' love songs (with a touch of optimism on a track or two) and a handful of fun, catchy diddies. Bentley is at home with the sad songs, it's what he has done so well.
Feel that Fire was a bit of a departure. More upbeat than any of his previous albums it was still a good rockin' addition to his discography.
Up on the Ridge was a natural and beautiful progression. Many people were hung up on the title of "bluegrass" album but really, it was right up Bentley's alley.
The reason why I brought up his past was to understand "Home", his newest album. I'm all for artists growing, adapting, and trying something new. That's not "Home". I'm all for artists sticking to what they do well. That's not "Home" either. "Home" doesn't feel like an evolution, nor does it sound like Bentley's standard. Aside from track one "Am I the Only One" (one of his great up beat songs) and track 12 (a sappy yet beautiful ballad) the rest of the album is so bland, so generic, so over-produced that nothing stands out, nothing shines, nothing hits, if I may be so bold, "home".
Gone are the sorrowful wistful songs that he does so well. The tracks that come close are so over produced (or maybe he's just too happy in his life?) they lack anything resembling hurt in his voice. "In my head" and "When you gonna come around" just don't work like they should. 5-1-5-0 is an okay catchy tune. The rest of the album just falls flat.
Because it's Bentley he still makes the songs better than they should be. Yet this album is nowhere near the quality and standard that his fans are used to.