Upon its release in the waning months of 2019, Jason Aldean claimed he always wanted to call his ninth album 9. It was his lucky number, the number he had when he played baseball as a kid, so he planned to use the numeral as a title if he ever had a chance. As it happens, he did in 2019, when he made his ninth album for Broken Bow. Like its eight predecessors, 9 is produced by Michael Knox, and like every album since 2014's Old Boots, New Dirt, 9 relies on a sleek blend of gleaming electronic rhythms, slow-burning ballads, minor-key melodies, and country songs. A half-decade prior, this hybrid seemed fresh, but repetition has dulled its luster, an impression not lessened by the album's long running time. Over the course of nearly an hour, Aldean runs through songs of heartbreak and small towns, occasionally lightening the mood as the amplifiers get cranked up and his delivery gets quicker. None of these sounds are new and Aldean and Knox don't take any pains to offer much of a new spin on either the feel or content of the tracks, either: it's simply another collection of Aldean songs. That it's executed well is expected, possibly welcome, but the professionalism also has a bit of a dulling effect, sanding away any sense of personality, an end result that's slightly ironic because there's no mistaking 9 for the work of anybody else. Its cool, reserved, dour vibe is purely Aldean.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine