By Megan Callahan

Jason Aldean comes out swinging on his fifth album, Night Train. On the ballad-based album, Aldean and his band bring a collection of upbeat hard rock sounds complemented by a few always-classic country love songs.

Throughout the entire album, Aldean and the band prove their relationship is tighter than any pair of worn, Skoal-ringed Levi’s. The tight knit sound of the group allows Aldean an edgy leeway, which he takes full advantage of in songs like “Night Train” and “Take a Little Ride.”

Sticking with his roots, “Staring at the Sun” is slow and deep with riffs and guitar squawks. Of course, it’s a love song. This is country we are talking about, after all. But it’s good country, the kind that makes everyone secretly want to go mudding or drive a ’76 Ford.

At moments, the album is straightforward, with cheesy-ass songs like “1994” and “The Only Way I Know” featuring Luke Bryan and Eric Church. Songs that, if you’re truly from the country, hit home. But the thing that resonates the most on Night Train is that Aldean, known for his upbeat No. 1 hits, can croon and slow it down with the some of the best. “Black Tears” depicts the life of a stripper who hides her pain with cheap sex and cocaine. No tablecloth talk here.

Night Train is truly the epitome of what’s “popular” in country today. He breaks down barriers, is ever so slightly edgy and connects lyrically with every country fan. It’s sad, slightly obnoxious, and still catchy as hell.