Kenny Chesney’s ‘Life On A Rock’ captures island life

Kenny Chesneys Life On A Rock captures island life

Alyssa Sykuta

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine
Twenty years in the music industry has yet to take a toll on country star Kenny Chesney’s ability to please his fans. The 45-year-old singer/song-writer released his 16th studio album, “Life on a Rock,” less than 11 months after the release of his previous album, “Welcome to the Fishbowl.” “Life on a Rock” is one of Chesney’s most personal albums, painting pictures of what he refers to as his “other life” in the Virgin Islands. Having written or co-written eight of the 10 tracks, each song draws inspiration from daily life, experiences, and people met during his time in the Caribbean.
The album begins with “Pirate Flag,” also the first single released from the album in February, reaching number 9 on the U.S. Country charts. The tune takes after many  other recently popular country songs, modeling a feel closer to that of rock and eerily similar to Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” One of Chesney’s favorite records, “Pirate Flag” stands unique among the other 9 tracks. While the rest of the album also reflects on life in the tropics, the style of “Pirate Flag” fails to set the listener up for the rest of “Life on a Rock,” contrasting greatly from the breezy island summer day feel of songs such as “Coconut Tree” or “It’s That Time of Day.”
However, after “Pirate Flag,” you will feel each track lower your heart rate just a little bit more as the soothing sound waves and ideas of ocean waves simultaneously take over you. Pulsed by the soft sounds of shakers, bongos, and the rhythmic strumming of an acoustic guitar, Chesney delves into some of his and his friends’ life experiences, exploring memories of people in “Lindy,” “Marley,” and “Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi).” However, he doesn’t forget to leave the listener daydreaming of “parrots and pigeons and mangoes and salt on a stick” with his title track and “sunny skies as far as I can see” in “Coconut Tree,” featuring old-time country artist Willie Nelson.
The third track on the album, “Spread the Love,” features The Wailers and explores a reggae sound much different from any of Chesney’s previous music. While clearly conveying a stereotypical island feel, recent events led Chesney to put a philanthropic spin on the mellow groove. In light of the bombing at the Boston Marathon on April 15, Chesney started the “Spread the Love Fund.” All proceeds from downloads of “Spread the Love” go to those injured in the Boston Marathon in need of prosthetics. On his official website, Chesney says “For me,  I want to help give these people as much of their lives back as possible, but I’d also like to counteract some of the negativity in the world … Remind people that there are more good people out there, and it’s up to us to ‘Spread the Love.'”
Lilting and relaxing, Kenny Chesney’s newest album will straight up leave you longing to grab your sunglasses and fall asleep seaside under the sun.  I look forward to sitting in my car, putting my feet up on the dash, sipping lemonade, and drifting away to my own island world with “Life On A Rock”in the lazy summer days ahead.
By Alyssa Sykuta