Review: Charlie Worsham’s ‘The Beginning Of Things’

Beginning Of Things Cover

Remember when I said you’re damned if you and damned if you don’t when it comes to liking certain music (Oh look, I literally said it just a couple days ago…)? Unlike Mr. Brad Paisley, I can’t relate it necessarily to Charlie Worsham, but I can relate it to his new album, The Beginning Of Things. If I thought I saw eclectic responses to Love & War, the responses to this album blow it away (again, in terms of variety).

I’ll be honest, I’ve been digging the hell out of this record, and I’ve held off this piece because I’ve been trying to figure out why exactly. I just do. I mean, I’ll agree with the people who don’t like this album on two things. We’ll get to one later on, but I’ll also agree it’s not quite as strong as his debut, Rubberband.

Then again, this is definitely a very different album for Charlie, even if the heart of it is still there. Charlie caught a bad break trying to rise up in 2013 when country music was a hellhole (well, more of a hellhole), and as such, we hadn’t heard of him awhile, with “Want Me Too” being his last single and a whole album full of great songs to tide us over.

But those days are gone, and everyone has moved on – including Charlie. I’m not quite sure what prompted the change in sound, but I dig it. I do think this album shows Charlie’s personality and charisma a little bit more though, with tracks like the odd opener “Pants”, “Take Me Drunk”, and “Southern By The Grace Of God” showing off a sort of playfulness that sort of remained latent on his debut album. I like “Southern” in particular a hell of a lot. I mean let’s face it, Charlie isn’t really what you’d consider traditional country. He’s doing something different from what the rest of the mainstream is doing, but it’s more along the lines of say, Brothers Osborne and Eric Church rather than Jon Pardi and Midland. I take a line such as “you can’t out-country me” to be a subtle jab at those who might discount his new sound or furthermore discount his place in the genre. Plus, that guitar solo at the end is chaotic and fun as hell.

What I also like about the album is how eclectic it sounds. You get the whole soul vibe with tracks like “Call You Up”, “Cut Your Groove”, and “Please People Please”. Meanwhile, a track like “Old Time’s Sake” sounds like a true blue country song (seriously, the pedal steel and strings in that song are absolutely gorgeous). “Only Way To Fly” and “I-55” both sound like they could be radio hits while also feeling very fresh. The guitar solo in “Only Way To Fly” is especially pleasing (even if I would have let it ride a little longer).

Of course, the lyrical content is really what I want to cut at. You can tell that Charlie is trying to be a little personal on this record as evidenced by the frustration of “Please People Please” or the “be yourself” anthems like “Only Way To Fly” and “Cut Your Groove”. I like the latter track in particular a lot for taking the whole worn down “road less traveled” theme and framing the song around a lot of musical references. It reminds me of Eric Church’s “Record Year” in that small aspect.

Songs such as “Old Time’s Sake” and the title track may be the best tracks of Worsham’s career, with the former showing a strong sense of maturity in its framing with the latter showcasing an extremely strong story. Of course, I’m not surprised given the writers. Abe Stoklasa wrote one of my favorite songs last year with Charles Kelley’s “Leaving Nashville”. I also just really love the melody and production of this one as well. It’s definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year.

Now, I don’t love all of it. “I Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” gets pretty annoying with those “ahs” in the chorus, and look, if I agreed with people on one aspect of this album, I’ll agree on another – “Birthday Suit”. I get the entire point of song – to not actually strip down to your birthday suit but rather to let go of life’s worries but it’s just so….weird. From the production to the lyrics – everything.

I will also add that while Charlie’s personality does add to a song like “Lawn Chair Don’t Care”, it also feels somewhat forced lyrically, as if the label wanted to throw it on the album “just in case” this ended up working well with radio (and in turn, “Cut Your Groove” so far is getting the short end of the stick. Screw you country radio). Other than that, I’m not sure what else to add. Again, I found this to be incredibly enjoyable.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT: I don’t know what else to say other than I really enjoyed this album. I just love how fresh it feels as a whole with the production, and I think Charlie’s strong lyricism has really stayed consistent. I still don’t like “Birthday Suit” AT ALL, but other than that, it’s a strong album. As for the grade, I’m thinking an 8/10. This record won’t be for everyone, as evidenced by comments I’ve seen from lots of people thus far, but it’s for me.

Best Tracks: “The Beginning Of Things”, “Only Way To Fly”, “Take Me Drunk”, “Old Time’s Sake”, “Cut Your Groove”

Worst Track: “Birthday Suit”


Buy the album!


8 thoughts on “Review: Charlie Worsham’s ‘The Beginning Of Things’

  1. I stopped listening to this album after ” Southern By The Grace Of God”. It lacked insight, wit, and anything that resembled tongue in cheek. Roger Miller would have written a better song. It sounded like a song Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line might sing. It is so shallow and empty- headed as if Worsham had never left the South. And the lyrics’ general nature could apply anywhere in America so even the geographic boundaries it draws aren’t real. So I stopped because I was insulted by his inability to write a better song. No thank you. All the talk online about him is undeserved.

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    1. I mean your opinion is your opinion, and I understand the hatred of that song, but I do think a further listen would be good…I don’t know which type of country music you gravitate more towards, but “Old Time’s Sake” is pretty country, and “Beginning Of Things” is a fantastic story song IMO.

      “All the talk online about him is undeserved.” Again, to you. To me it’s not. So while I have a favorable opinion of him on my blog, I understand where you’re coming from as well and would hope you understand where I’m coming from. Thanks for sharing your insight regardless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Leon I respect your opinion a great deal. As country music grows I am always hoping that part of that growth is a honest look at what being a Southern means,and has meant. When you have artists like Jason Aldean wearing blackface for Halloween it is rather disturbing to hear such an innocent view of the South. I am not saying he had to take a side, or become political. But the song swayed me from listening to the rest of the album. But on your advice I will listen to the rest.

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    2. Craig, sorry if I came off as passive aggressive in my original comment. I think the track is supposed to be meant to be tongue in cheek personally (as evidenced by the “you can’t outcountry me” line) I think his change in sound is sort of his nod at affirming he’s not going to leave country or anything like that. Of course, that’s a wild assertion and I could very well be wrong. I am also of the opinion that these type of southern rural pandering tracks usually aren’t good, but here, I don’t know, it works for me, although I get why it wouldn’t work for others. I don’t know if the whole album would necessarily be for you – I honestly don’t want to waste your time, but I do recommend “Old Time’s Sake” and the title track.

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  2. Interesting to hear all the different takes on this record. As we discussed on Twitter, this week really has been polarizing, and everyone’s individuality has really shone through. As for this album…not a fan of this, but not hating it either. “Southern by the grace of God” just bored me, we’ve had so many songs talking about being so Southern. Bri talked about that in her review. It didn’t cause me hatred though, it just didn’t hold my attention. “Cut Your Groove” and “Please People Please” are really nice songs. The others I’ve heard were just kind of boring, but I have only heard about half the album. I can see why people don’t like it, and I can see why people love it, and my opinion is really neither, it just hasn’t done much for me either way so far. Honestly, if this were an independent album, and I’d listened to this many songs, I probably would have passed it by, but it’s mainstream, and I think people are inclined to give it more attention. It’s certainly different and better than what we get in the mainstream, but yeah, on the whole, it’s just not really doing it for me. I was glad Bri could write about it because it’s one of those things that I hate to write, not hitting me at either extreme, not something that gives me passion to talk about either way.

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  3. Love this review. I pretty much agree with all of it. I’ve listened to this album all week and haven’t gotten sick of it yet. I have been following Charlie since I first heard “Could it Be” before his first record was released. I absolutely loved Rubberband and still return to it as just one of those albums that just kind of has a comforting vibe to it, you know? This album isn’t as good, but it meets a lot of the expectations I’ve inadvertently built up for Charlie over the years. I love “Old Time’s Sake,” I get goosebumps with the genius on the line “casting my lines in this neon lake.” Picking up the song “The Beginning of Things” was a great move by Charlie because you cannot really go wrong with Donovan Woods/Abe Stoklasa songwriting duo. Donovan Woods blows me away with his own songs and the talent behind them (highly recommend checking out his own stuff if you haven’t) I too feel similarly about “Birthday Suit” I have heard an acoustic version of this song on YouTube, and that easy-breezy approach seems to suit the attitude of the lyrics better. I would have liked to see less electrically heavy guitar there. I think a song like “Take Me Drunk” is just extremely clever, and love the way Charlie approached it.

    I also think it is great that you mentioned The Brothers Osborne as a similar approach to country music as Charlie. Mostly because John Osborne (the bearded, killer guitar playing brother) and Charlie used to be in a band together called King Billy. So just a fun fact for you there!

    All and all, I am just hoping that Warner keeps letting Charlie do his own thing throughout his career and keep releasing music even if it doesn’t get radio airplay. Waiting almost 4 years for new music almost killed me. The guy deserves the airplay, he is one of the “good” guys in the industry right now. Alas, that probably won’t happen. Because, as we all know too well, country radio rarely rewards talent. Here’s to hoping to see more music from this guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks for such an insightful comment! It’s cool that you’ve been with Charlie since the beginning. I sadly only hopped on board during the “Rubberband” album. Thanks for the suggestion on Donovan Woods as well! It’s also cool to hear about Charlie and John Osborne…Learn something new everyday! I think Charlie will ultimately be alright no matter what. He’s acknowledged that stardom isn’t for him, and he seems to have a strong fanbase.

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      1. So I took your advice and listened to ” Beginnings of Things”, ” Old Time’s Sake” ,and ” Take Me Drunk”- I liked them all. I purchased them all on ITunes, I am happy to report that they were all original, well written, and authentic. His voice even sounded better on those three tracks. Thank you Leon for pointing them out!!

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