Parker McCollum continues his meteoric rise with new album – Never Enough.
Multi-Platinum MCA Nashville singer-songwriter, Parker McCollum, has returned with his brand new album, Never Enough, out now. The album continues McCollum’s meteoric rise, built on a rock-solid sonic foundation that blends together country and rock with ease, bristling with honesty and attitude. There is a real sense, more than on his previous, that McCollum is lifting the veil on who he is as a human and artist, an unvarnished and authentic view of himself, brought out under the capable hands of Jon Randall, who helmed the production. This unbarred view of himself and his inner psyche is the biggest marker between Gold Chain Cowboy and Never Enough, as he paints a vivid narrative of love and heartache (there’s a lot of heartbreak on this record, but it’s artfully and poignantly done).
McCollum has a firm handle on the heritage of country music itself, that comes through on this record. There is undeniably a honky tonk feel and thread that runs through Never Enough, most often in the melancholic songs of heartbreak. So, on ‘Best I Never Had,’ McCollum mourns the one that got away with the refrain, ‘I just wanted you to know, you’re the best I never had‘ and on ‘Stoned’ he stays stoned to run away from his melancholia. ‘I feel like the whole world won’t ever understand my heart / That’s the hardest part / Of being alone / That’s why I stay stoned.’ Of course, it is not just heartbreak that is a hallowed trope in country music – drinking songs are not to be forgotten on the huge track – ‘Handle On You.’ It’s a classic and witty country drinking song, with the refrain, ‘Tennessee and Kentucky ’cause you ain’t here to love me.’ This will doubtless go number one at some point, given its easy charm that suckers you in.
There’s a good deal of focus on life lessons and reflection on this album, from ‘Lessons From An Old Man’ where he traipses on the country trope of conversations with an older friend about life’s lessons (‘There’s making a living and there’s making a life / Lessons from an old man made a young man‘) to his gratitude to his mother on ‘Things I Never Told You’ – these more reflective moments showing his growth as an artist.
This is not to say though that McCollum does not indulge his rock side on this album – from the awe-inspiring guitar solo on ‘Hurricane’ where he celebrates his loved one’s independence (‘Yeah, she’s got some attitude / Someday she’s gonna get her name on a hurricane‘) to the electricity of ‘Speed’ and its meaty guitar shreds to the thrumming notes of ‘Don’t Blame Me.’ This last is one of the highlights of the record, a compelling, catchy guitar and beat-driven track where McCollum begs a lover not to blame them for loving him. ‘Wheel’ is perhaps where these ideas of country and rock come together best, a catchy track that is reminiscent of The Eagles as he sings of the resilience of his heart.
McCollum is a nuanced artist though – that is clear on ‘Have Your Heart Again’ a gorgeous piano ballad, where he yearns for a second chance with a lover. The emotion of his vocal is raw and tender, but more than anything the track proves his ability to provide shade on a record and builds out the rich tapestry of himself as an artist. It’s an emotion that is interwoven on ‘Burn It Down,’ where he weaves his vocal and that of a female singer for a stunning heartbreak song about burning away any memories of a relationship and on ‘Tails I Lose’ – doubtless one of the stand-out tracks on the record -a pedal-steel driven heartbreak ballad. ‘Ain’t a damn thing I can do / It’s heads you win / Tails I lose.’ It’s on these melancholic moments that McCollum appears to showcase the brilliance of his unique, raw vocal to its full potential.
What has always been clear is the strength of McCollum’s handle on who he is as an artist and songwriter, co-writing all the songs on the record, in a way that allows him to infuse country and rock seamlessly. This record hammers that fact home, building out a rich tapestry of songs and stories – from heartbreak to love and gratitude, accomplished without letting a single brilliant guitar riff slip through the cracks.
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