Let It Go by Tim McGraw

Since Tim began taking greater control of his music five years ago, he’s been gradually perfecting a formula that mixes accessibility with artistry while compromising neither. Let It Go is the best example yet of that approach, an immediately appealing effort that doggedly avoids modern country’s greatest sins: lyrical gimmickry, musical blandness and slick, soulless production.

One way Tim keeps it real on Let It Go is by keeping it dark. “Between the River and Me” reconnects with country’s murder-ballad roots, while his cover of Eddie Rabbitt’s sensual “Suspicions” offers another brand of brooding. Even the duet with wife Faith Hill, “I Need You,” is shot through with a dangerous obsessiveness.

It’s a testament to the consistency of the songs that all this never gets oppressive. On the contrary, Let It Go is a dazzling reminder that it’s possible to please both the muse and the marketplace.

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