Fresh Horses | EW.com

Music

Fresh Horses On Fresh Horses (Capitol), Garth Brooks' first studio album in two years, the superstar veers between traditional country and...Fresh HorsesCountry On Fresh Horses (Capitol), Garth Brooks' first studio album in two years, the superstar veers between traditional country and...1995-12-08
B-

Fresh Horses

Genre: Country; Lead Performer: Garth Brooks; Producer (group): Capitol

On Fresh Horses (Capitol), Garth Brooks’ first studio album in two years, the superstar veers between traditional country and ’70s pop-rock like a sailor tossed from starboard to stern. Sometimes he even does it in the same song. He recasts Aerosmith’s ”The Fever” with the Western lyric of a rodeo rider. The song, an example of what Brooks calls ”garage country,” is spurred to breakneck speed by hard-churning electric guitars and what sounds like a barn-dance fiddle on acid. It has every reason not to work, but somehow does. The same can be said for ”Ireland,” a powerful, poetic song about an Irish soldier in battle, which might seem like a top-heavy anachronism but succeeds with its wonderful synthesis of shiny ’90s production and ancient instrumental touches (a hurdy-gurdy).

Elsewhere, Brooks’ writing is uneven, ranging from a ho-hum autobiographical road paean (”The Old Stuff”) to a confusing ghost story (”The Beaches of Cheyenne”) to a bordering-on-risque fairy tale (”It’s Midnight Cinderella”) that adventurously pushes the envelope of country lyrics. (About Prince Charming he sings ”And by the way he’s walkin’/I can guess where your slipper’s at.”) This album is more good fun than great music, but even at its thinnest, Brooks’ inventive risk-taking continues to set him apart from his paint-by-numbers competition. B-

More from Our Partners