Time Flies

Billy Ray Cyrus

Sony Records, 2003

http://www.billyraycyrus.com

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/07/2004

In 1992, Billy Ray Cyrus gave the world the inescapable hit "Achy Breaky Heart." Grunge was still in its infancy stage, Snoop Dogg hadn't even been introduced to the mainstream and rock music was about to die another death before getting resurrected another three or four times.

As many detractors as Billy Ray Cyrus has, you have to admire him for his resiliency. Many rap, rock and grunge bands have long since left the scene since 1992. And Billy Ray Cyrus' latest album, nbtc__dv_250 Time Flies, is probably his finest hour. Cyrus doesn't have the breakout, catchy hit like "Achy Breaky" this time around, but the album contains a restrained modesty that makes the lyrical cheese go down easy.

Time Flies makes no pretense in its lack of risk-taking. Billy Ray has about an equal portion of ballads, barroom raisers and emotional confessionals worthy of the most clichéd PAX television specials. In a wince-worthy moment, Cyrus name-drops his aforementioned hit in "Hard to Leave." Time Flies has a slew of songwriters at its disposal, leaving those who want to hear Cyrus' true voice frustrated.

The album itself is thankfully underproduced. Cyrus seems to have taken some hints from the alt-country movement, especially on tracks such as "Close to Gone." Unfortunately, Cyrus sticks an unnecessary electric guitar riff at the end of many songs, proving that some survivors of country music's excesses of the early '90s don't die easily. A bit more restraint and Cyrus could have had a memorable, if not predictable artistic detour into bluegrass -- think Garth Brooks' ghastly turn to glam rock, but with more success.

The album ends with an acoustic version of "Some Gave All" -- a reminder about Cyrus' past glories, as if those who pick up this album didn't know already. It ends the album on a modestly good note. At its best, Time Flies is not an embarrassment and will definitely go down in the 'plus' category of Cyrus' record. Still, its typical, mainstream country sound makes it perfect jukebox music -- loud enough to be heard, but sorely lacking in the emotional punch needed to resonate within listeners.

Rating: C-

User Rating: D-


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© 2004 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony Records, and is used for informational purposes only.