Famous artists tend to ignore the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Hollywood has thrived on TV reboots in recent years, such as “Fuller House,” “Will & Grace” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
The country duo Brooks & Dunn has hopped on the train with its new album “Reboot,” released on April 5. The 12-track album features the duo covering some of its classics with help from a handful of today’s top country artists and bands, such as Kane Brown, Kacey Musgraves and LANCO.
Reboots can be met with hesitancy, as some people find nothing wrong with the original to be improved. However, “Reboot” is surprisingly entertaining and includes new versions that are possibly even as good as the original songs.
Considering that many of the featured artists use a more pop-country style than the sound on Brooks & Dunn’s original versions of the songs, the addition of these artists introduces a new generation to a brand of country that preceded bro-country and trap-country.
And while some of these artists’ approaches to country don’t match that of Brooks & Dunn’s, they make it work.
“My Maria,” featuring Thomas Rhett, and “Believe,” featuring Kane Brown, are examples of unlikely pairings executed seamlessly. You wouldn’t expect Rhett’s softly accented and alto vocal range to match the duo’s deep-South baritones and tenor vocals. One also wouldn’t expect Brown’s soft, breathy voice and subtle R&B delivery to match Brooks & Dunn’s gruff style either, but it surprisingly does.
On a few of the album’s songs, the featured artists were able to completely change the tones from the original tracks. The addition of Musgraves’ affirmative yet soft voice on “Neon Moon,” along with the addition of a synthesizer in the background instead of an acoustic guitar, makes the song feel much sadder than the original and brings two voices into play instead of one. Ashley McBryde brought a softer tone to “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” with her soprano, southern twang matching perfectly with the duo’s voices.
What makes this album stand out in comparison to other reboots is that the songs don’t depart from the originals so much that they become unrecognizable. The only changes they made were including more pop-oriented instruments, such as synthesizers and 808 drums, instead of the more organically orchestrated country originals.
The album also provides its listeners with a feeling of joy that comes from the artists. “Brand New Man” with Luke Combs, “Ain’t Nothing ’Bout You” with Brett Young and “Hard Workin’ Man” with Brothers Osborne are just a few examples of the enthusiasm that permeates “Reboot.” Their voices are so infectious that the energy could prompt listeners to get up and sing along with the song.
Overall, “Reboot” is a satisfying album. Was it necessary? Probably not.
However, the songs are a breath of fresh air if you’re looking for a mix of old school and new school. If someone wanted something different from the Brooks & Dunn originals or wanted to introduce younger crowds to modern country artists worth checking out, then this album is the one to listen to.