Jekyll+Hyde (image from upload.wikimedia.org)

Country superstars the Zac Brown Band have charted their third consecutive number one album with their Jekyll + Hyde. They started its chart life with a very healthy 228,000 units shifted, which is better than any album that made it to the top spot in the past month. In fact, that figure makes Jekyll the biggest debut since Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly moved 363,000 in its first week. Several recent albums that topped the tally, including new projects from Wale, Alabama Shakes, and Vine star Shawn Mendes, all debuted with less than half the total that Zac Brown just sold.

Songs in the Album

“I’ll Be Your Man (Song for a Daughter)” finds Zac Brown pouring out his wishes for his little girl. Among many tender moments.

Several songs in the album gush over a loved one’s beauty, including “Loving You Easy.” “One Day,” says of a couple’s committed connection. “Bittersweet” is a poignant presentation of a man and woman coming to grips with her terminal illness. Equally, tear-jerking is “Dress Blues,” a mournful ode to a young soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, leaving behind a pregnant wife.

“Tomorrow Never Comes” reiterates the popular country music theme of living each day like it’s your last. Further, with Chris Cornell’s help, “Heavy Is the Hand” ponders on the pressure that surrounds leaders who make hard decisions. “Remedy” recognizes that love is the key to solving big problems. The song credits Jesus with emphasizing the importance of love.

“Beautiful Drug” compares a woman’s sensual influence to drug addiction. War-weary cynicism on “Dress Blues” yields this line:

 “What did they say when they shipped you away?To give all in some god-awful war?”

“Junkyard,” tells a dark story with an even darker ending; oblique lyrics hint at incestuous rape. Things aren’t good for Mom, either, so a son determines to rescue her by killing Dad.

Zac Brown Band ( image from www.grammy.com)

Jekyll + Hyde

Jekyll + Hyde may sound a tad cliché, but it’s not such a bad title for this release that’s split between so many stylistic genres and lyrical subjects.

Songs affirm faith and love, commitment and sacrifice. Brown deals repeatedly and effectively with the heartbreak of untimely death.

But he also capitulates on tired country tropes like drinking whiskey down by the river, teens making out in cars and a murderous son taking mortal vengeance on a monstrous father. And then there’s the suggestion that all religions eventually lead to the same place.

Here’s one of the singles from Jekyll + Hyde

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