The Mona Lisa
Label: Arista Nashville
You never know what surprises Brad Paisley has in store, and Wheelhouse delves into some unexpectedly deep topics. Songs about racism ("Accidental Racist," with LL Cool J), spousal abuse ("Karate," with Charlie Daniels) and religion ("Those Crazy Christians") replace the usual country-music themes; there are no songs about trucks, rednecks or knocking back a few. This is fresh and tuneful stuff, usually further graced by Paisley's sharp sense of humor. "Outstanding in Our Field," "Pressing on a Bruise" and "The Mona Lisa" are just the tips of the highlight iceberg.