Keep in mind Brantley Gilbert’s last album wasn’t terrible. In fact it was actually quite decent. I had multiple nice things to say about Just As I Am, despite some bad singles. When Gilbert tries he can make good music, but this new album doesn’t really feature Gilbert trying. It instead features Gilbert at his absolute worst and indulging in his worst tendencies. First it must be stated that The Devil Don’t Sleep is not a country album. No, this is straight up butt rock for the most part. Click on the definition I’ve linked and tell me it isn’t the perfect description of this album. Gilbert has never really wanted to be a country artist, but rather a rocker. This has always been his targeted fan base and he targets them well with this album. Of course I hate butt rock, as do most people. Now you might say I’m being overly harsh and outright mean, even before I get into the album. But this thing is 16 songs long and I had a headache before even getting halfway through. Needless to say I did not have a pleasant experience listening to this album. I guess I should start with what songs I liked on this album because it’s quite brief.
The album’s opening song “Rockin’ Chairs” is without a doubt one of the best of the album because it isn’t the same old recycled butt rock clichés that plague this album. The song is about living it up while also striving to live to the day you can sit back in a rocking chair to reminisce about those days. It’s a somewhat mature outlook on living the party life. It also features some nice acoustic guitar play to open the song and Gilbert’s vocals are used to the best of their abilities. The album’s final song “Three Feet of Water” is a quiet piano ballad that actually has something to say. The song is about seeking forgiveness from a life of wrongdoing and sees some actual emotion from Gilbert. The instrumentation is well arranged and frames the lyrics appropriately. It’s a shame that the album’s one good song is buried beneath so much crap, but I do applaud Gilbert for managing to produce one song I actually like on this record.
Now let’s get to the bad. The lead single of the album “The Weekend” somehow annoys me even more than it originally did. The lyrics are just so stupid and vapid that I want to rip my hair out in anger out of the sheer lack of intelligence on display. Casual misogyny fuels the fire of “You Could Be That Girl.” We get the disgusting line from Gilbert of “you know how to hit your knees” to the girl he sees as his one. This quickly followed by a clarification of a girl who will pray for him, but I’m not an idiot. This is an intended double entendre that you the listener is supposed to find clever and funny. “Bullet in a Bonfire” had a very small chance of being a compelling song about abuse, but instead the moral of the song is solving violence with more violence. But oh it gets much worse with “Bro Code.” This might be Gilbert’s worst song ever. The IQ level of this song is a Tapout shirt wearing frat bro shot gunning Monster energy drinks as he jerks off to underground MMA videos. The word bro gets said so many times and the sneering attitude of Gilbert as he and some random bro treat a woman like a piece of meat make for the ultimate douchebag anthem. You truly have to hear this masterpiece of asshattery yourself to understand it’s awfulness.
The rest of the album for the most part is split between songs with obnoxiously loud guitars interrupted by the grunting vocals of Gilbert and really sleepy ballads with no teeth and creativity. Gilbert’s vocals range from Cookie Monster gargling sandpaper to bored droning. The lyrics for the majority of the songs on this album are the most predictably tripe, faux outlaw tough guy word associations that many have come to expect from Gilbert on his worst material (by the way Gilbert wrote or co-wrote every song). Outside of a few songs, Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep is at best a huge waste of time. At worst it’s butt rock at it’s most butt rock. I didn’t think I would hear one of the worst country albums of 2017 by the end of January, but I’ll be highly surprised if The Devil Don’t Sleep isn’t a contender for Country Perspective’s Worst Album of 2017 award. It’s that damn awful.
Recommend? – No No No No No No
Album Highlights: Three Feet of Water, Rockin’ Chairs
Wallpaper: The Ones That Like Me
Horrendous Songs: Bro Code, The Weekend, You Could Be That Girl, Bullet in a Bonfire
Bad Songs: The rest of this album