They say that there is no accounting for taste but, after listening to Setting Fire To The World, the second taste of Kenny Chesney’s forthcoming album, Cosmic Hallelujah, it feels like someone has let the bean-counters out of the back-office to have a crack at it. Seeking to apply some pop flare to Chesney’s brand of country-rock, Alecia Moore – better known as P!nk – has been drafted to add some muscle and edge to Setting Fire To The World, in what can only be assumed is an attempted to create a money-making monster by tapping the lucrative country and pop music markets simultaneously.
As expected, P!nk brings her considerable voice to bear, but even this is drowned by the wall-of-bland that is the air-filler music she is backed by. Don’t mistake me, Setting Fire To The World is well recorded, the instruments are in-tune – though the (poor) use of electronic drums is a painful misstep – and Kenny Greenberg’s guitar solo threatens to create interest, while Chesney does nothing to explicitly embarrass himself, yet the song does nothing to ingratiate itself to the listener beyond being inoffensive.
Chesney’s career spans two decades, is soon to encompass 17 studio albums, and features plenty of chart successes, so he clearly has some idea about what he is doing which raises the question ‘what has gone wrong here?’ Perhaps a hint lies in the fact that Cosmic Hallelujah was originally going to be released in July, under the title Some Town Somewhere, before having its release date pushed back to October. Considering this, it would seem that Chesney has suffered some blow to his confidence somewhere along the line, and we can only hope that Setting Fire To The World isn’t indicative of Cosmic Hallelujah’s quality.