“Brad Paisley new album A++ trolling,” tweeted music writer Jon Caramanica in response to the recently leaked tracklist to Paisley’s upcoming LP, Wheelhouse. He’s not far off. Usually, tracklist announcements are really non-starters as actual news stories—oh, you have a song called “Up All Night” and one track features Future, brilliant—butWheelhouse has some serious eye-wideners buried amidst its song titles and features. Take a look:
1. “Bon Voyage”
2. “Southern Comfort Zone” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace]
3. “Beat This Summer” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Luke Laird]
4. “Outstanding In Our Field” (Featuring Dierks Bentley and Roger Miller with Hunter Hayes on guitar) [Brad Paisley/Mike Dean/Chris DuBois/Lee Thomas Miller/Roger Miller]
5. “Pressing On A Bruise” (Featuring Mat Kearney) [Brad Paisley/Mat Kearney/Kelley
6. “I Can’t Change The World” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace]
7. “幽女” [Brad Paisley/Justin Williamson/Randle Currie]
8. “Karate” (Featuring Charlie Daniels) [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace]
9. “Death of a Married Man” (Featuring Eric Idle) [Brad Paisley]
10. “Harvey Bodine” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace]
11. “Tin Can On A String” [Brad Paisley/Ashley Gorley/Kelley Lovelace]
12. “Death Of A Single Man” [Brad Paisley/Kelley Lovelace/Lee Thomas Miller]
13. “The Mona Lisa” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois]
14. “Accidental Racist” (Featuring LL Cool J) [Brad Paisley/Lee Thomas Miller/LL
15. “Runaway Train” [Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Kelley Lovelace]
16. “Those Crazy Christians” [Brad Paisley/Kelley Lovelace]
17. “Officially Alive” [Brad Paisley]
Now, we know Brad has been trying harder to branch out a little recently, and based on the early returns—five-minute anthem “Southern Comfort Zone,” one of our favorite country songs of last year—that’s a good thing. But there is some serious wackiness here. Let’s run it down:
1. Just some weird-ass song titles. Without getting into the really crazy ones, there’s head-scratchers like “Outstanding in Our Field,” “Officially Alive,” “Pressing on a Bruise,” and our persona favorite, “Those Crazy Christians.” Hard to guess from any of those titles what the accompanying songs are actually about, which is sort of a rarity for a genre that doesn’t place much of a premium on mystery or subtlety.
2. Both “Death of a Married Man” and “Death of a Single Man,” just a couple tracks apart? Some kind of “Marriage, can’t live with it, can’t live without it” type joke? The beginning of Paisley’s morbid phase? Interesting.
3. Speaking of “Married Man,” what the hell is Eric Idle doing on this album? The 69-year-old Monty Python comedian doesn’t exactly strike us as a kindred spirit with Paisley, and we didn’t even know he was still recording.
4. Of course that’s nothing compared to “Accidental Racist” (featuring LL Cool J), which has now officially become our most-anticipated new recording of the year. Like…what, possibly?
5. But even more perplexing than that might be the mid-album two-fer of “幽女”—translated as “quiet female,” according to Caramanica anyway—followed by “Karate” (featuring Charlie Daniels). We’d make an “Is this gonna be the best country / Asian crossover since..?” joke, but we can’t even think of a good “since.”
Well, if Paisley’s looking to get us excited about the album, this is a pretty good way to do it—so much so that we’re a little worried that maybe he is just in fact trolling us, and the real album is just 12 guest-less tracks with titles like “Girl You Know I Miss You” and “My Hat Is My Hat.” Either way, kudos.