Tim McGraw

Here on Earth

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Here on Earth Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tim McGraw calls his 15th solo album Here on Earth but he's pictured floating in the cosmos on its cover. The music contained within doesn't quite settle the contradiction between the heavens and terra firma yet the starry-eyed artwork does capture an essential element of the album, particularly in how it feels as slick and stylish as an airbrushed van. McGraw isn't rocking in the slightest here, though. Here on Earth rolls smooth and easy, filled with breezy ballads, country trifles, and sweetened R&B, songs that keep the focus on McGraw's sentimental side. Often, this doubles as his seductive side, sometimes in slightly unpredictable ways, as when he compliments a woman for reminding him about how awestruck he was when he heard Sheryl Crow on the radio for the first time (he would've already been a Top Ten hitmaker by that point). A lot of Here on Earth focuses on familial love and long-term relationships, the kind of attachments that deepen when middle age advances. McGraw has long been in this kind of comfortable groove, at least thematically, so it's to his credit that he allows this record to be so lush it almost seems opulent. The opening cut "L.A." is so ornate it evokes memories of prime Glen Campbell, and if the rest of the album doesn't quite reach these heights there's enough mellow melodrama to hold the listener's attention even as the album veers toward cozy comfort.

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