Tim McGraw’s new, much-anticipated album “Emotional Traffic” finally arrives after two years of a legal drama, in which Curb Records — the independent label with which he launched his career in 1990 — filed suit against McGraw, essentially accusing the country singer of trying to fulfill his contract with a sub-par album.
This is the album in question, which was turned into Curb Records in fall 2010. The verdict: “Emotional Traffic” isn’t substandard, but like most of McGraw’s albums, falls short of being as remarkable as other country albums from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and the newly solo Ronnie Dunn.
But McGraw, with his inviting, warm phrasing, has always been a great recorder of singles — with the best writers on Music Row on his team — so singles such as the rollicking “Felt Good On My Lips” and the mature “Better Than I Used To Be” connect with what seems to be the 44-year-old singer’s signature but prosaic message: dealing with his next 30 years by living like he is dying.
We await McGraw’s next, which he has promised will be the album he has always wanted to make.
— David Burger