I Don't Want to Miss a Thing

Mark Chesnutt

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I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Review

by Martin Monkman

What do we make of Mark Chesnutt's foray into crossover territory? The bulk of I Don't Want to Miss a Thing is smooth new country, retaining the elements of neo-traditionalism that characterize the best of Chesnutt's earlier albums. There's a nice mix of material, ranging from the tender "Tonight I'll Let My Memories Take Me Home" to the honky tonk of "That's the Way You Make an Ex," which seems to be an homage to George Strait's "All My Ex's Live in Texas." There's also the witty "My Way Back Home," the tale of a man who returns back to "home sweet mobile home" to find that his woman has left him, literally, homeless, and the vaguely Cajun "Jolie." If I Don't Want to Miss a Thing ended there, this would be another good, but not necessarily great, Mark Chesnutt album. But overshadowing the other nine songs on the album is the title track. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" was penned by Diane Warren, best known for writing hit adult contemporary ballads for the likes of Cher and Celine Dion. The song's first appearance was on the Armageddon movie soundtrack, where it became a major hit for Aerosmith in 1998. While Aerosmith's rendition was over the top, Chesnutt tames the beast, even as the arrangement builds to a dangerously bombastic climax toward the end. On "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," Chesnutt proves he can sing power ballads with the best of them. But that one of the best honky tonk singers of his generation starts tackling this sort of material says a lot about the state of traditional country in Nashville, none of it good.

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