It’s been three years since Pardi’s breakthrough California Sunrise launched him on the pathway to Nashville superstardom. Returning off the heels of a five single record, a lot rides on this cowboy’s third full-length studio album to make himself a household name. Country music has always had a knack for storytelling and telling the truth, plain and simple as it is. This record, for the most part, finds Pardi doing just that with ease.
The vast majority of songs on the album feature sad and depressing topics but have an uplifting sense to them. These are songs one can raise a drink and drink away a memory to. While this critic doesn’t recommend the latter, that’s certainly the foundation to the title track. All in all, these songs go well paired with alcohol or as a virgin style beverage.
As per usual with Pardi’s style, he’s not a country artist to have a pop vocal on a country sounding song. He’ll serve one up a throwback to the 1980s and 1990s style artists such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and a plethora of artists gave listeners. It is not about the production, but rather the message of the song and how the artist feels as if they’ve lived through the song.
Although Pardi’s authenticity is felt across all fourteen songs on the album, some stand out such as “Nobody Leaves a Girl Like That”, “Me & Jack”, “Buy That Man a Beer” and “Love Her like She’s Leaving”. Between these songs, Pardi showcases growing up and learning a lot about life that he can pass on to others. He realized how good of a love he let getaway (“Nobody”), how alcohol can screw one’s life (“Jack”), what it means to face life head-on and become a man (“Buy”) and just what loving someone truly means (“Leaving”). Pardi always holds a distinct country vocal. However, on these songs, in particular, there’s a sense of vulnerability and honesty that Jon has as he just sings what he feels needs to be said.
As with every record, there are a few moments few and far between where the album feels in a standstill. On this album that comes in the form of “Old Hat,” “Call Me Country” and “Starlight”. In particular “Hat” and “Call” felt like an overtired theme of having statements of country credibility in music nowadays. Concerning Pardi, listeners know he is a throwback artist and holds true to country music’s roots. There is no need to prove that any further to listeners and these songs feel like a sellout. Similarly, songs Florida Georgia Line thought weren’t good enough for their own 2019 album Can’t Say I Ain’t Country followed along the lines of the aforementioned theme. On the flip side, “Starlight” just feels like a weird lyrical metaphor for God and religion but about a girl at the same time, which ultimately doesn’t make a lot of sense and this critic can’t understand why it is the album closer.
At fourteen tracks, this record is pretty long and runs just shy of fifty minutes. Other reviewers are suggesting to cut the last three songs from the record. This critic doesn’t find that idea pleasing; instead, he would remove “Call Me Country” because “Old Hat” is a fantastic opening to the album albeit its subject matter. Also to be removed would be “Starlight” to close the album with “Love Her Like She’s Leaving”. Aside from that everything else stays the same.
The takeaway of this album is Pardi didn’t make a carbon copy of California Sunrise but also didn’t lose some of that formula either. He allowed himself to explore a bit in terms of production and lyrical subject matter. That being said, this album will not hurt his career, but will most likely not propel him to superstardom. He might need one more album like Sunrise to give him the extra footing, which Heartache Medication will challenge itself to provide.
Potential Singles: “Nobody Leaves a Girl Like That”, “Me & Jack”, “Tied One On”, “Just Like Old Times”
- “Old Hat”
- “Heartache Medication”
- “Nobody Leaves a Girl Like That”
- “Ain’t Always the Cowboy”
- “Me & Jack”
- “Don’t Blame it on Whiskey (With Lauren Alaina)”
- “Tied One On”
- “Oughta Know That”
- “Tequila Little Time”
- “Buy That Man a Beer”
- “Call Me Country”
- “Just Like Old Times”
- “Love Her Like She’s Leaving”