Billy Ray Cyrus may never live down the fact that he recorded "Achy Breaky Heart," but this, his seventh album, is a step towards salvaging his reputation. For the first time, Cyrus puts himself in the capable hands of Nashville's best songwriters and musicians, and the result is his strongest work ever. Every track is well-chosen and well-crafted, the production rocks without being too "rock," and Cyrus trades his usual over-the-top growl for some fine vocal work.
True, there are some catchy singalongs ("Rock This Planet," "Under the Hood") and one of Cyrus' trademark anthems ("The American Dream"), but none of them are lightweight or corny. The CD also finds Cyrus sounding more country than he ever has before--tracks like "How's My World Treating You" and "His Shoes" are truly emotional tales of heartbreak. Standouts include "Give My Heart to You," about a man who feels he's given away everything he has, except his ability to love; "Busy Man," about the dangers of being too wrapped up in your work, and "Touchy Subject," a bluesy rocker with a sax break. Critics who've been taking potshots at Cyrus for years may have to admit that SHOT FULL OF LOVE is right on target.