Top positive review
Five Stars PLUS - A Gem of an Album
Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2001
I started listening to country music ten years ago, once the lyrics that made pop accessible melted away into thumping beats and indecipherable mumbles. Garth Brooks' "No Fences", as inspired by Billy Joel and James Taylor, literally SPOKE to me as I turned 30 in 1991. Back then, and still as I near 40, he wrote songs that were passionate, understated, and sincere, like the Piano Man and Sweet Baby James in their heydays. On "No Fences" he pours his heart and soul into every note of every song, from the unforgettable "Unanswered Prayers" to his own now-signature tale, "Friends In Low Places." He is all of these characters and none of them still, just a storyteller by the fire, but possessed by his protagonists. Few artists have succeeded in blending seamlessly the melody of pop and the resonance and grit of country - but Brooks pulls it off. "No Fences" is the first of a succession of brilliant American fare that made Brooks the unparalleled success of the 90s. It's easy to see why "No Fences" launched Garth's career into the stratosphere, up there with the Beatles and Elton John. He crafts universal themes with every one of his instruments as a songwriter, vocalist and musician.
At once epic ("The Thunder Rolls") and soft ("New Way to Fly") "No Fences" will stand the test of time and emerge as the 1990's version of "Tapestry" or "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Fun, clever, and emotionally charged all at the same time, Brooks delivers a heartfelt, magical set.