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Brad Paisley, ‘I Can’t Change the World’ – Song Review

I Can't Change the World
Arista Nashville

‘I Can’t Change the World’ is Brad Paisley‘s anthemic ballad from his ‘Wheelhouse’ album. As a vocalist, he rarely soars like he does on this sonically complex, but lyrically simple love song. His performance as a singer and guitarist actually overshadows the strength of the song.

A healthy dollop of reverb for his voice and guitar bring both out of the mix in a way that’s new for the talented, but rarely showy Paisley. Typically, it’s all part of one cohesive soundscape, but on ‘I Can’t Change the World,’ one is moved to offer an impressed “Dang!” as he gets through the chorus:

“I can’t change the world / Baby, that’s for sure / But if you let me, girl / I can change yours / I bet I can change yours.”

Paisley’s ability to weave a common thread through a diverse lineup of singles from the same album is unique and unequaled. The choir he employs during this song’s climax is similar to, if not the same as the one used on ‘Southern Comfort Zone,’ and to a lesser extent, ‘Beat This Summer.’ For that reason, each new song feels like a continuation of a story we’re already invested in and enjoy.

And every time you light a flame / You just get burned and you feel like / It’s all in vain / You feel like / You need to learn that no one’s gonna save you / No, no one’s gonna save you,” he sings at the bridge. “But I’m standing here / My heart’s on my sleeve / Never gonna let you down / Never ever gonna leave you,” Paisley sings.

This is a compelling piece of production because it’s both sparse and vulnerable, as well as textured and complicated. The spacey guitars that close the song show that attention was paid to every last moment of this ballad — he doesn’t just fade away. The story doesn’t provide an emotional hook like Paisley’s previous efforts, but those that appreciate him as a musician first will include ‘I Can’t Change the World’ amongst their favorites.

4 Stars

Listen to Brad Paisley, ‘I Can’t Change the World’

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