Sometimes what is old can be made new again. That’s certainly the case with one of the albums in this week’s music reviews.

I listened to all of these albums in my hotel room here at the State Volleyball Tournament in Rapid City. Since the past few reviews have not featured any country music, or very little country music, I figured this week’s review would have a very distinctive country flavor. The albums being reviewed this week are “Red (Taylor’s Version),” by Taylor Swift, “Mercy,” by Cody Jinks, and “Macon,” by Jason Aldean. These albums can be found on Spotify, or at your local record store or Walmart.

‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ (Taylor Swift, Nov. 12)

For those unaware, Taylor Swift is re-recording her old albums that she had previously recorded with Big Machine Records. Swift is doing this so that she can own the master recordings to her songs, and in turn make more money. It’s actually a pretty smart move on Swift’s part. As with her previous re-recording of “Fearless,” “Red (Taylor’s Version)” features additional tracks, and in the case of one particular song, a longer version of a previously released song.

The track that is getting the most attention is the 10-minute long version of “All Too Well.” The song is reportedly about Swift’s relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. If it is about Gyllenhaal, it certainly doesn’t paint a good picture of the man. Unfortunately, Swift fans are taking it out on Gyllenhaal, which seems a tad inappropriate. However, as much attention as that song is getting, there are other songs on this album that are very good. If you’re a fan of country music, you’ve probably heard the song “Better Man” by Little Big Town. That song was written by Taylor Swift, and she does a very good job with it. There’s also a new song featuring Ed Sheeran, and another new song featuring Chris Stapleton. I forgot how many songs from this album I liked. It was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” “Come Back...Be Here,” “I Bet You Think About Me” and “All Too Well.”

Scotty’s Score: 89/100.

‘Mercy’ (Cody Jinks, Nov. 12)

I first became aware of Cody Jinks when a player on the Pierre Trappers used “Loud and Heavy” as his walkup song. Up until this week, that was all I had really ever heard from Mr. Jinks. When I saw he had a new album, I figured I had to give it a listen. I was encouraged to listen to it by one of my podcast co-host Ian Muirhead, who told me that Cody Jinks is one of his favorite country artists because of his storytelling ability.

This album certainly tells a few stories. It’s a solid album from top to bottom. Not every song hits me the same as others. Some are just filler, sitting on the tracklist just to exist. But there are songs that are worth seeking out, including one that definitely has that driving feel of “Loud and Heavy.”

Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “Hurt You,” “Feeding the Flames” and “Like a Hurricane.”

Scotty’s Score: 75/100.

‘Macon’ (Jason Aldean, Nov. 12)

I’ve had a perplexing relationship with Jason Aldean’s music. On one hand, some of his music is delightful. On the other hand, a lot of his music is full of cliches and isn’t worth the radio play it gets. “Macon,” which is the first part of a double album, is a perfect example of that. “Georgia,” the second part of that double album, will be released next year.

“Macon” has some country radio friendly songs. It feels like Aldean got back to his roots with this album, because it’s the first album of his that reminds me of why I first liked his music in middle school. I don’t know where I would rank it amongst his past albums, but it gives me vibes of Aldean’s debut. It even includes a surprising cover of “Heaven,” which is a song made famous by Bryan Adams in 1984. It’s certainly an interesting album. There’s a little too many songs about drinking, which is good for fans of that activity, but off putting for those trying to remain sober.

Scotty’s Favorite Songs: “Over You Again,” “If I Didn’t Love You,” “That’s What Tequila Does” and “Story for Another Glass.”

Scotty’s Score: 61/100.

Scott Millard | 605-295-8429

Scott Millard has been the sports reporter for the Capital Journal since 2017. He was previously an intern with the Capital Journal during the summer of 2016.

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