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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 September 2012
'Emotional Traffic' is yet another great album from Tim McGraw. Surely one of the most consistent recording artists of his age, Tim never fails to deliver a good, varied set of songs to please the ears and touch the heart.

So why the dropped star?

Well, the difference between 'Emotional Traffic' and Tim's very best sets is that unlike with 'Set This Circus Down' or 'Southern Voice' for example the album has a contrived feel to it. Things this time come across as (ironically given the title) just that bit more 'written to satisfy a purpose' than before and while the songs themselves are still of a high standard Tim's ability to almost bring you to tears sometimes is dissipated.

Now don't get me wrong, I would not wish to ever be without a copy of 'Emotional Traffic' but this time I feel the artist has tried maybe just that little bit too hard to ensure he makes a good album than simply allowing himself to trust his instincts - which, lets face it, have always worked well for him in the past.

This said, tracks like 'The One That Got Away' (my favourite song on the record), 'Touchdown Jesus', 'Better Than I Used To Be' and 'Die By My Own Hand' would all be hard to leave off a best of compilation. The duet with Ne-Yo, 'Only Human' is perfect radio and works really well and the hit 'Felt Good On My Lips' is a record that makes you feel good and reminds you of summer loves.

'Right Back Atcha Babe' and 'One Part, Two Part' are more traditional country while opener, 'Halo' has rousing guitars and borders on rock. This is also true of 'I Will Not Fall Down' which reminds me of Coldplay for some reason? In fact, only 'Hey Now' is lightweight here and even that is a cheery album song that would sound good on the radio.

So then, all in all, another winner from Tim but more maybe an album from 'a star recording artist' than from the heart of the man himself...
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on 23 June 2017
Love ir
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on 5 December 2013
Great songs, great singer, great lyrics. This guy always has great stuff to say/sing, great philiosopher also!
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Tim McGraw stands at the cutting edge of contemporary country pushing at the boundary between country and rock music in a way that probably offends many country "purists". This is not hat music and the opening track "Halo" has spiralling rock guitars which emphasise how McGraw blurs distinctions.

But then, with "Right Back At You" and "One Part Two Part" (with wife, Faith Hill, providing backing vocals), he's back in firm country territory with steel guitar and Nashville sound albeit with "edge".

The album title is derived from a line in the compelling mid tempo ballad "Only Human" which Tim performs with rhythm and blues star Ne Yo and ringing acoustic and electric guitars further underline his boundary bursting commitment.

Perhaps the clue to McGraw's superstar status is his ability to bend genres while remaining firmly within the country arena. "Felt Good On My Lips" is reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet's laid back beach party style while "Die By My Own Hand" is pure Daniel Lanois. Electric guitars, drums and pedal steel create a shimmering, swirling, echoing wall of sound but doesn't threaten to overwhelm McGraw's dramatic delivery. Meanwhile, "Touchdown Jesus" is tinged with the sound of Lindsey Buckingham's Fleetwood Mac era.

Nevertheless, the album is nicely balanced and there are some solid country ballads like "Better Than I Used To Be" and "One That Got Away" that have a more traditional sound.

There are 62 names credited on this album so this is a big production in every way. It features contributions from exponents of a variety of styles including crossover jazz, pop-rock, middle eastern music, classical and gospel which combine to form a complexity of sound but in a way that leaves the album undeniably country in feel and intent.

This is compelling 21st Century contemporary country music but it doesn't pretend to be easy listening. It's music for the demanding adult listener and a sophisticated rebuttal of the saccharine sounds that often pass for country music.
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on 24 January 2012
Emotional Traffic represents Tim's eleventh and final studio album with Curb Records and despite delivering the album to Curb in late 2010, the label have sat on the album for as long as possible due to this being the last album Curb would deliver of McGraw's. Sues and counter sues followed and the matter is due to be settled in front of a jury in July this year. In November 2011 a judge granted Tim the right to record for another music label and signified an end to his recording relationship with curb which began with his first self titled album in 1993.

As far as I'm concerned, a long time Tim McGraw fan, it's been far too long to wait for new material since he released Southern Voice way back in 2009. I've grown up with McGraw - Don't Take The Girl introduced me to the genre - and country music would be the poorer without him. It's about time he's been allowed to release new material and I'm just glad he's back with a huge bang with his latest album.

Emotional Traffic is typical McGraw and features the first of two singles to be released from the album Felt Good On My Lips and Better Than I Used To Be. For me the album has a funkier/rockier edge throughout and along with an overriding mid tempo feel it deserves to be cranked up either in the car or at home - it's quite an uplifting album that fans old and new alike will love. McGraw remains true to his roots with a subtle country twang with no better example than the opening track Halo.

His velvet and distinctive sound is there for all to hear and comes shining through on the edgy Die By My Own Hand. Touchdown Jesus is typical McGraw who delivers the track in a way only he can by telling a story and delivering an inspirational message, the song featuring miracles, hope and faith, a sick girl and a recovering addict.

In his second single, a wonderfully emotive acoustic number Better Than I Used To Be McGraw sings

I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain't as good as I'm gonna get
But I'm better than I used to be

And is certainly one of the stand out tracks on the album.

Ne-Yo joins Tim in the R&B with Only Human and the R&B feel continues with the infectious and upbeat Hey Now, arguably the best track on the album behind Better Than I Used To Be for me.

A terrific album, featuring guitar riffs, distinctive country and an R&B feel, Emotional Traffic is a positive album and I have to say it's good to have Tim back once again.

Key Tracks for me would include Hey Now, Better Than I Used To Be and One Part Two Part.
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on 2 July 2013
It must have been a huge relief for Tim to deliver this album to Curb to get out of his recording contract with them, but after doing so they released yet another hits album and kept this one on hold for another year. It makes me wonder why Tim released such a strong album as he will probably never sing most of the songs now, why would he want to promote it? But it's a shame as it's a solid collection of songs, and because of his departure, only 2 songs became hits: 'Felt good on my lips' and 'Better than it used to be', and even one of them was already included on the 'No.1's' album!

There is certainly a different feel to this album than the one that followed, his first for Big Machine 'Two lanes of freedom'. 'Emotional traffic' sounds like a album of reflection before moving on. But it's a great album and shouldn't be overlooked as many people seem to have done, the album still has not gone gold in America, and for Tim that's unthinkable!
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on 1 February 2012
I think a lot of McGraw's more recent albums aren't particularly country-ish, more a sort of slickly produced 21st century version of country rock - you know, the sort of things that won't scare the horses middle-class America-wise, but they've had a certain polish and swagger that's appealed to me! I particularly liked the last album, "Southern Voice", and the one from a few years back, "Live Like You Were Dying", both of which were very AOR-sounding but with some great country nuggets hidden away in 'em.

That said, I can't say I feel quite the same about this one though! He's quoted as calling it, "My best album ever". To me it just rolls past without leaving much of an impression. Best bits are the "Felt Good on my Lips" and "Better Than I Used to Be" singles.
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on 24 January 2012
An ongoing dispute between Tim McGraw and his record label, Curb, prevented the release of this album following its completion at the end of 2010. For some unfathomable reason (it starts with 'm' and rhymes with 'honey') Curb seemed much keener on re-releasing McGraw's back-catalogue with a series of 'Greatest Hits', three versions of which appeared between 2006 and 2010. No wonder McGraw took exception and Curb became his ex-label.

Happily, successful court proceedings gave "Emotional Traffic" the green light, and in my opinion the album marks a return to form for McGraw, following 2009's slightly lacklustre "Southern Voice". Emotional Traffic is a satisfying collection of radio-friendly, contemporary country songs. It pretty much adheres to McGraw's usual formula, and isn't going to win him any fans among traditionalists, but then I'm sure he's not expecting that.

Most importantly, he's chosen his material well, and there are several potential hits waiting to be discovered here. Already a hit for McGraw, "Felt Good On My Lips" was included as the lead-off single on the 2010 compilation "Number One Hits", and luckily for all concerned it hit the No. 1 spot. Similar radio-bound choruses are found on the guitar-backed "Halo", the summery and infectious "Right Back At Ya" and the anthemic "I Will Not Fall Down". The latter, with its driving guitars and power-ballad stylings is not musically or lyrically subtle, but sounds like a future chart-topper.

Faith Hill, McGraw's wife, is scheduled to make her own musical comeback in the spring of 2012, and she makes her habitual appearance here on the soulful "One Part Two Part". Hill and McGraw sound great together, and this song is one of the album's many highlights. The other duet on the record is a curious one, as R&B superstar Ne-Yo shares the duties on "Only Human", which sounds like an R&B/pop song pretending to be country. However, with the exception of one slightly clunky key-change, the experiment works, the voices gel, and "Only Human" sounds like a mainstream pop hit or something that might play over the end credits of a film. Make of that what you will, but it's got a good chorus!

In comparison, McGraw sounds almost like an entirely different singer on "Better Than I Used to Be", the album's second single, which is noticeably stripped back and pretty much the only straight-country song included here. However, McGraw is versatile enough to carry off the different musical styles, which is part of the album's appeal and what makes it such a satisfying listen.

In my opinion, the only real dud here is the repetitive gospel-rocker "Touchdown Jesus", which doesn't ever really get going or sound hugely original. Everything else on the record is worthy of its place, and there are several memorable choruses that will be following you around for days. As such this album is a must-buy for McGraw fans, and is also an ideal place to start for anyone thinking of buying a McGraw album for the first time (my other recommendation for first-time buyers is 2004's "Live Like You Were Dying", a similarly diverse collection of great contemporary country).

One thing's for certain - McGraw is definitely back in the driving seat with Emotional Traffic.
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on 11 October 2012
Huge Tim McGraw Fan, own all of his albums, eagerly awaited the release of this album and was sorely disappointed. There is a sticker on the front of the album claiming that Tim says this is his best album to date. I disagree. Best album - Set this circus down.
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on 13 March 2016
This is my all time favourite Tim McGraw album. Like all his work, it is a well rounded collection of songs with something for everyone but songs such as I Will Not Fall Down, The One That Got Away and Die By My Own Hand are McGraw at his best. Brilliant
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