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A Man for All Cookouts: Uncle Kracker’s Seventy Two & Sunny

Uncle Kracker
Seventy Two & Sunny

Uncle Kracker is a rock artist who makes country music. Thisis not terribly uncommon, but there’s something interesting about theway Mr. Kracker makes the rock-to-country transformation: None of thetracks on Seventy Two & Sunny remotely resemble “countryrock.” They all sound like pop songs (there are no waltzes or fiddlereveries or twang-infused references to rodeo clowns), yet they all feellike country songs. The result is a better-than-decent album that willappeal to those who don’t listen to music with sociology in mind, whichis probably 90 percent of America.

Part of what makesKracker compelling is his maniacal obsession with hit making. It’s toobad this dude wasn’t born in the late 19th century, because he wouldhave loved working on Tin Pan Alley. Hit singles are the only songs hehas any interest in creating. Even the boring songs on Seventy Two & Sunnycould reasonably exist on the radio, and most of the album follows theformula he perfected on the flawless 2001 chart-topper “Follow Me”(i.e., one sweeping hook, stupid yet charming lyrics, no dissonanceallowed). The songwriting is archetypal and casual, a Sublime-like,laid-back buskerism mixed with a less aggressive version of the “outlawcountry” his benefactor Kid Rock aspires to record. The best example is”Songs About Me, Songs About You,” where Kracker brags that he’swritten about everything from money to booze, and the only reason hehasn’t had a Top 10 smash about regret is that he hasn’t gotten aroundto it.

Somehow, Uncle Kracker has come to the conclusion that fakecountry music is the only authentic art remaining in America. “LastNight Again”–a duet with shirtless country star Kenny Chesney–makesme want to purchase Miller High Life even though it’s not in a beercommercial (yet). You’d have to work pretty hard not to like thesesongs, though I’m sure some people will try. I like his Tone- Loc-esquevoice, and I like most of these songs. You could do a lot worse.

Grade: B