Garth Brooks - 'Man Against Machine'

Man Against Machine is the tenth studio album from American country heavyweight Garth Brooks and also his first studio album in thirteen years.The album holds fourteen tracks with some of the tracks co-written by Garth himself.

People Loving People was released to country radio as the lead single from the album on September 3rd. Opening with a driving electric guitar hook, the track has a rock orientated production, led by a strong drum line. Lyrically the track holds a touching message and is a good choice as the first single however it isn't my favourite on the album, I found it passed me by.

The second single from the album is set to be Mom. Considerably softer than People Loving People, it is a very clever pick for a single as it shows a different side of Garth's tone. "A loving angel tender, tough and strong, it's almost time to go and meet your mom" and "you'll never have a better friend, or a warmer touch to tuck you in" are some of the sweetest lyrics in the whole album and are delivered through a heartfelt vocal that I am sure will draw many listeners in.

Mom is followed by one of my favourite tracks, Wrong About You. Sadly it's only one minute fifty six seconds long (considerably shorter than the majority of the tracks on the album) however the overall track comes together really well. It is upbeat enough to remain interesting but has a 'lazy' feel that works really well. The various elements of the production - including electric guitar and banjo - weave in and out of the steady drum line to create a catchy track that you can happily play repeatedly.

Another of the strongest tracks is undoubtedly Send 'Em On Down The Road. The songwriters should be commended for "though you just can't bear the thought of letting go, you pick 'em up, you dust 'em off and you send 'em on down the road" and the story that flows through the whole track. The female backing vocals (which sounds a lot like Garth's wife Trisha Yearwood) add another dynamic to the chorus and the production swells and fades to support Garth's vocals throughout.

Probably my least favourite track is the bluegrass influenced Rodeo And Juliet. The track feels a little frenetic at points with a punchy driving drum line and Garth's vocals don't feel particularly comfortable, seeming to be at odds against the pace of the track at points. It also strangely feels as though the verses pass a lot quicker than the repeated chorus, with the chorus lyrics seeming to reappear a lot, making the track feel a little repetitive.

Track listing....
1) Man Against Machine - Garth Brooks, Larry Bastian, Jenny Yates
2) She's Tired Of Boys - Garth Brooks, Amanda Williams
3) Cold Like That - Steven Lee Olsen, Melissa Peirce, Chris Wallin
4) All-American Kid - Craig Campbell, Brice Long, Terry McBride
5) Mom - Don Sampson, Wynn Varble
6) Wrong About You - Adam Wright
7) Rodeo And Juliet - Garth Brooks, Bryan Kennedy
8) Midnight Train - Melissa Peirce, Matthew A. Rossi
9) Cowboys Forever - Dean Dillon, John Martin, Wynn Varble
10) People Loving People - Busbee, Lee Thomas Miller, Chris Wallin
11) Send 'Em On Down The Road - Marc Beeson, Allen Shamblin
12) Fish - Chris Wallin, Wynn Varble
13) You Wreck Me - Kevin Kadish, Stephanie Bentley, Dan Muckala
14) Tacoma - Bob DiPiero, Caitlyn Smith

I have never been a huge fan of Garth Brooks but have found that this album grows on me the more I listen to it. It is also nice to hear Trisha Yearwood singing backing vocals at points (among various other backing vocalists) In my opinion, the slower tracks are where Garth is at his strongest as he's given the ability to really tell the story of the lyrics and give a heartfelt vocal however some of the mid tempo tracks - such as Wrong About You and Midnight Train also work really well. Undoubtedly worth a listen to country fans of any age.