Here for the Party, this sassy, strong-singing Redneck Woman's 2004 debut, was a giant smash, butAll Jacked Up's even better: diverse, rockin', and topped by a sensuous, soulful surprise bonus-track version of Billie Holiday's "Good Morning Heartache." … see full wiki
Although I was rather surprised by the depth of Gretchen Wilson's first album, I'm afraid that her second disc, "All Jacked Up," though pretty good, is par for the course. This makes for a somewhat bland listening experience considering that this is only her second album. Wilson has what it takes to be a consistently strong country performer, and she doesn't appear to be the type to sell out in order to make a quick buck. But if her next album offers up more of the same that "Jacked" and "Here For The Party" gave us, she'll most likely be down for the count. George Strait has made a solid and even legendary career out of sticking to the same old formula. However, he always manages to tweak his sound just enough to keep the listener interested. Wilson's sophomore effort seems to be compiled of leftovers from her debut.
As with "Here For The Party," the raucous, commercialized sounds of "All Jacked Up," "California Girls," and "Skoal Ring" are sure to appease the masses. These songs, as well as a couple of others on the disc, speak volumes to folks who like to pretend to be a little trashy and can actually afford to go to multiple concerts and buy multiple discs each year. These songs play easily alongside the pop of Faith Hill and the poser-country of Mr. Faith Hill and Kenny Chesney. I'm sure that those particular songs will do quite well on country radio.
The true gems on this album are songs like "Full Time Job" and "He Ain't Even Cold Yet." These songs have a strong sense of tradition embedded in them. They are the real reasons that Wilson garners attention from folks whose taste is a little bit better than the Nashville-programmed drones of typical country radio. "Rebel Child" hints of subtle Southern Rock and "Not Bad For A Bartender," though not her strongest song, is a nice shot at an autobiographical tune. "Politically Uncorrect" is modestly good, though I wonder if having Merle Haggard appear on the song with her was done out of respect or perhaps to certify her traditional roots.
The rest of the album is pretty good. As said before, Wilson sticks with what works, but she sounded a lot more sure of herself on her debut than with this disc. Hopefully, Wilson will bend her style a little and lose the whole circus that is Big&Rich and Cowboy Troy. Wilson is much better than those performers, and I feel that they may eventually drag her career to the grave.