It's possible to follow the trends in mainstream country music by listening to Dustin Lynch's albums. He started the 2010s attempting to fashion his own spin on Luke Bryan's friendly bro country, slid into the middle of the decade by co-opting a little bit of Jason Aldean's simmering seduction, and approaches its sunset with Current Mood, a record that is firmly aligned with current country trends. Namely, Current Mood is awash in R&B and glossy electronic surfaces, a sound that suggests mainstream pop as much as country. He's not the only purveyor of this sound in 2017 -- Sam Hunt pushed country in this direction, with the likes of Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris following quickly in his footsteps -- but he's someone who has pursued it wholeheartedly, dedicating almost every track on Current Mood to this pop amalgam. Because Where It's At had a fair number of cuts in the vein of Aldean's R&B-friendly "Burnin' It Down," this doesn't feel like a great leap for Lynch and, frankly, it's a better fit for him than the wannabe Bryan era. He not only seems relaxed and confident, but the modern R&B opens the door for the old-fashioned soul slow-burner "Love Me or Leave Me Alone," a duet with Karen Fairchild, to pop. Generally, Lynch is better with the romantic material -- the party songs "I Wish You Were Beer" and, well, "Party Song," veer toward the cornpone, as does "Why Not Tonight," but it's saved via its bizarre Weezer country fusion -- but fortunately the album favors ballads and slow-grooving pop tunes, all of which allows Lynch to display his laid-back charm.
Current Mood Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine