Here In the Real World
Entering the country starsweepstakes without great fanfare or flash, Alan Jackson quickly won a massive audience through the strength of his music and the sincerity of his persona. His 1989 debut Here In The Real World sets the tone for his future releases — the songs manage to sound both tradition-rooted and modern, while the production (courtesy of Keith Stegall and Scott Hendricks) keeps the glitz at a minimum while remaining radio-friendly. Jackson's easy-going vocal manner fits the tenor of the material perfectly, skirting the wild edge of barroom balladry while conveying a guy-next-door charm. The album's lighter fare — most notably "She Don't Get the Blues" and "Ace of Hearts" — have an unaffected warmth about them. The autobiographical "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow" celebrates the artist's dues-paying days. Most outstanding are ballads like the understated "Wanted" and the uplifting "I'd Love You All Over Again" where, without false histrionics, Jackson proves himself a master of modern country romance. A confident opening statement by a natural country talent, Here In The Real World still sounds like the real thing.