THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Following his heart and letting down his guard.
Blake Shelton has never really been one to wear his heart on his sleeve.
But on “If I’m Honest” (Warner Music Nashville), arriving in the aftermath of his divorce from Miranda Lambert and the new romance with fellow “The Voice” coach Gwen Stefani last year, Shelton is positively Taylor Swiftian in his transparency about his love life.
Sure, there are the country-rock anthems about drinking that we’re used to, including the new single “Straight Outta Cold Beer” and the championing of classic country like the good-time “Doing It to Country Songs.”
But the bulk of “If I’m Honest” is a mix of letting old relationships go and starting new ones. The aching “Bet You Still Think About Me” even sounds like a Lambert ballad, while the upbeat “Every Goodbye” has a bit of Stefani-inspired sunshine in Shelton’s vocals, as he offers a shoulder to cry on.
Shelton even reveals some of the issues of his new relationship on “A Guy With a Girl,” singing about his date getting all the attention. “If I’m Honest,” especially on the gospel “Savior’s Shadow,” shows off a new side of Shelton that truly suits him.