By Scott Ward
SPOILER ALERT! Kenny Chesney has included a “secret” surprise extra song on his new album, Cosmic Hallelujah. The song title is not listed on the artwork or on any of the major download sites….but we will reveal the title at the end of this article. You’ve been warned!
Cosmic Hallelujah is Chesney’s fifth studio album this decade and it finds him comfortably in his zone. At his best, Chesney evokes imagery of a life well-lived and people who are just trying to make some sense of a crazy world.
The opening track, “Trip Around The Sun,” does just that while lightly touching on heavy subjects like rising sea levels and the Second Coming. “All The Pretty Girls” moves the conversation onto another of Chesney’s favorite subjects, pretty girls who are ready for a good time.
Over the years, Chesney has been adept at collaborations with artists from out of the country radio format. This time around, he calls on the vocal talents of P!nk (that’s how she spells it, kids) for the #1 country radio hit, “Setting The World On Fire.”
P!nk was a pleasant and understated surprise on the song, especially when compared to the vocal excesses of some country/pop collaborations of the past year.
Cosmic Hallelujah also includes another radio hit from 2016, “Noise,” the perfect anthem for the vitriol and divisiveness of an election year. As the narrator, he draws no real conclusions about what to do about the noise, he’s just lamenting right alongside his fans.
Chesney the Philosopher is there, once again trying to figure things out on cuts like “Rich And Miserable” and “Winnebago.”
“Coach” brings Chesney’s sports and music passions together to honor men and women who guide teams of every kind, every year. The song can and should be played at end of season banquets everywhere–it will mean that much to the people who play and their mentors. The only real dud on Cosmic Hallelujah comes in the form of “Bucket,” an intended clever turn-of-a-phrase that lands with a thud. It’s a crummy song but the chorus will probably still show up on someone’s t-shirt next summer.
SPOILER ALERT! On the album version of Cosmic Hallelujah, there is a hidden track at the tail end. The unlisted song #12 is an acoustic, bluegrass-leaning take on the classic rock staple “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner.
Whether or not digital buyers get a crack at this remains to be seen… but you’ll probably just look for it on YouTube anyway. It’s a pleasant surprise that wraps up the physical media version of the latest chapter in the career of one of country music’s most consistent hitmakers, Kenny Chesney.