A prudent man would not open his album with a song featuring the verses "Now I'm the first to say I don't know what I'm doing/And I ain't gonna preach what I don't know/I ain't no deep theologer, no PhD psychologer/I'm making this shit up as I go." But Pat Green clearly knows no such caution, and on What I'm For, his eleventh album, he seems determined to Make A Statement while offering up a commercially polished product that might allow him to make a dent on the charts outside his native Texas for a change. The first two songs, "Footsteps of Our Fathers" and "What I'm For" are clearly intended as Statements of Purpose issued from some blue-collar soapbox about unity and acceptance among the common people, and "In It for the Money" makes it clear that Green considers himself an artist and doesn't think much of folks willing to sell out for a royalty check. However, Green sounds a bit more engaged when he's singing "Country Star," a presumably satiric number in which he goes on about the joys of free drinks, hot babes, hanging out with Faith Hill and all else that comes with landing a record on the top of the charts, and for all his rootsy sincerity, producer Dann Huff has made this Green's most radio-ready album to date, so slick you could skate on it when you cue up tunes like "Lucky" or "Feeling Pretty Good Tonight." And while Green and his band sound game on these sessions, these tunes are far from the best in his songbook, full of clever phrases that don't always cohere into real songs; for all the care that went into the production and the arrangements, it's sadly ironic that songwriting turns out to be the Achilles' Heel of What I'm For. Maybe Green wasn't kidding -- maybe he did make this stuff up as he went along.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming