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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Album review: Blake Shelton’s If I’m Honest is a crowd-pleaser

If I'm Honest reflects a lot of musical sincerity from Blake Shelton.
Blake Shelton's If I'm Honest.
Blake Shelton's If I'm Honest.

If I’m Honest

Blake Shelton

Warner Music Nashville

Three stars

If his time on the American version The Voice has done anything for Blake Shelton, it has sent him further down the road towards crowd-pleasing tunes. There’s plenty of that on If I’m Honest. Make no mistake, it’s a country road he’s travelling on that’s filled with hard-to-miss observations from his high-profile personal life.

The least subtle of these is a duet, Go Ahead and Break My Heart, which he co-wrote with Gwen Stefani, his fellow The Voice mentor and current love interest.

It seems reasonable to interpret it as a moving-on song for both as they put their respective divorces behind them. The album alternates between twangy pop numbers and “straight outta that dirty South” self-consciousness that is a little heavy on the John Deere tractor references.

Some Shelton fans will love that, of course, but it feels like the Oklahoma native has been spending a lot of time explaining the South at Hollywood cocktail parties. It’s when he settles down that Shelton really shines. One Night Girl swells with emotional sincerity, while Savior’s Shadow, a gospel song about faith, also feels like he means it.

*AP