View the original review at: http://www.countryweekly.com/reviews/2nd-time-around
When an artist and record company part ways, it’s a fairly common practice for the act to re-record their old songs for a new label. Unfortunately, it’s also a common practice for those new versions to be deceptively packaged as a “greatest-hits” album so unknowing fans will pick it up instead of the genuine article. So kudos to Mark Wills—the packaging of this album of re-recorded hits makes it very clear that these are not the original recordings, but freshly recorded takes. 2nd Time Around is a reassessment, not a ripoff.
In fact, these new versions help to bring Mark’s identity as a singer and storyteller into clearer focus. Many of the songs here are about regret and loss (even the tongue-in-cheek “19 Somethin’”), and the straightforward treatment gives them a new sense of overall coherence. A few too many tear-jerking ballads leaves 2nd Time Around dragging in its second half, but fans will at the very least get exactly what they paid for: a new perspective on a solid body of work.