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November 23, 2014

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CD review: Tim McGraw’s ‘Emotional Traffic’

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Tim McGraw 'Emotional Traffic'
Two and a half stars

Given the amount of time Tim McGraw spent feuding with Curb Records over releasing Emotional Traffic (lead single “Felt Good on My Lips” came out in September 2010), it’s sort of anticlimactic that his 11th studio album isn’t anything more than solid, crowd-pleasing contemporary country. McGraw hits all the requisite sweet spots of current radio-friendly country, including arena-ready, adult-contemporary faux-rockers (“Halo,” “I Will Not Fall Down”); Jimmy Buffett-style island vibes (“Right Back Atcha Babe”); cheesy pseudo-inspirational Christian platitudes (“Touchdown Jesus”); upbeat party anthems (“Hey Now”); and a collaboration with a cred-enhancing pop star (“Only Human,” with Ne-Yo). Soulful R&B cover “One Part, Two Part” (with McGraw’s wife Faith Hill on harmony vocals), the semi-funky “The One” and the ultra-catchy “Felt Good on My Lips” are more fun to listen to, but still fit into pretty well-worn templates. McGraw fans will be relieved to finally get their hands on this album, but it was hardly worth the fuss.

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