God's Problem Child

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God's Problem Child
Willie Nelson - God's Problem Child.jpg
Studio album by Willie Nelson
Released April 28, 2017[1]
Genre Country
Length 44:25
Label Legacy Recordings
Producer Buddy Cannon
Willie Nelson chronology
For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price
(2016)
God's Problem Child
(2017)
Willie's Stash, Vol. 2: Willie and the Boys
(2017)
Singles from God’s Problem Child
  1. "A Woman’s Love"
    Released: February 14, 2017
  2. "It Gets Easier"
    Released: March 9, 2017
  3. "Old Timer"
    Released: March 28, 2017
  4. "He Won’t Ever Be Gone"
    Released: April 6, 2017
  5. "Still Not Dead"
    Released: April 27, 2017

God's Problem Child, released on April 28, 2017, is the sixty-sixth studio album by singer-songwriter Willie Nelson. The album features new songs co-written by Nelson and producer Buddy Cannon.[2] Using their frequent method, Cannon and Nelson wrote the songs exchanging the lyrics in text messages, while Nelson later recorded his vocals in the studio.[3]

Content[edit]

The title track was written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, and features vocals by Leon Russell in one of his last recordings. Alison Krauss provides background vocals on the tracks "True Love" and "Little House on the Hill". The original album title, I'm Not Dead, refers to the recurrent hoaxes announcing Nelson's death. "Delete and Fast-Forward" describes Nelson's view on the 2016 United States elections. The release includes a song written by Cannon's mother, Lyndel Rhodes.[2] It also includes "He Won't Ever Be Gone", a tribute to Merle Haggard written by Gary Nicholson. Seven tracks on the album are written by Nelson and Cannon. Alongside traditional music retailers, the release was made available for pre-order on the website PledgeMusic along with promotional merchandise.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

The album's lead single, "A Woman's Love", and its respective video premiered on Rolling Stone's website on February 14, 2017.[4] The video for the single "It Gets Easier" was later premiered by the Los Angeles Times on March 9.[5] Later, on March 28, the video for "Old Timer" first appeared on The Daily Beast.[6]

Upon its release, God's Problem Child reached number one on Billboard's Top Country Albums with 36,000 album-equivalent units and 34,000 pure sales. It became Nelson's sixteenth country album chart-topper, while it also entered the Billboard 200 at number ten.[7]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic79/100[8]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars
Rolling Stone4/5 stars
Uncut8/10
PopMatters8/10 stars
Record Collector4/5 stars
Paste8.5/10
Pichfork7.6/10
Austin American-StatesmanFavorable

AllMusic awarded the album four stars out of five. The review noted an improvement in Nelson's voice, compared to his releases of 2016. Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine concluded, "It's simply an uncommonly strong latter-day record from Willie Nelson: there isn't a hint of fussiness and the songs and the performances are so understated, they only seem richer with repeated spins".[9] Rolling Stone praised the album observing that age is a focus of Nelson's new songwriting giving him "(a) renewed purpose as a lyricist and heightened vulnerability as a vocalist".[10]

Uncut rated the album eight out of ten, and favored Nelson's songwriting, while it called the single "Still Not Dead" one of Nelson's "modern masterpieces".[11] Popmatters delivered a favorable review, calling it an "indisputable high point" of Nelson's latest records.[12] Record Collector rated the album four out of five stars, hailing Nelson as a "bona fide legend who’s never sounded more alive".[13] Paste felt that the release was "as vital" as the rest of Nelson's repertoire.[14]

Pichfork summed up the album by calling Nelson "(a) cosmic joker contemplating mortality with endearing humor and touching honesty".[15] The Austin American-Statesman opined that it was "Nelson’s best album since the 1990s" and attributed its success to "(a) near-perfect balance between Willie as songwriter and as interpreter".[16] Sounds Like Nashville added that "Nelson isn’t going to go quietly in the night. The 'Red Headed Stranger' has never done anything in that fashion, and at age 84, the singer continues to come out swinging on all cylinders."[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, selling 34,000 in copies (36,000 equivalent albums in total) in its first week. This is his record-extending 50th top 10 album on the Top Country Albums chart. It also debuted at number ten on Billboard 200, which make this Nelson's sixth top 10 album on the chart.[18] It has sold 108,300 copies in the United States as of June 2018.[19]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Little House on the Hill"Lyndel Rhodes3:02
2."Old Timer"Donnie Fritts, Lenny LeBlanc3:34
3."True Love"Willie Nelson, Buddy Cannon3:01
4."Delete and Fast Forward"Nelson, Cannon3:25
5."A Woman's Love"Mike Reid, Sam Hunter3:23
6."Your Memory Has a Mind of Its Own"Nelson, Cannon3:29
7."Butterfly"Sonny Throckmorton, Mark Sherrill3:51
8."Still Not Dead"Nelson, Cannon2:33
9."God's Problem Child"Jamey Johnson, Tony Joe White4:57
10."It Gets Easier"Nelson, Cannon3:07
11."Lady Luck"Nelson, Cannon3:31
12."I Made a Mistake"Nelson, Cannon3:17
13."He Won't Ever Be Gone"Gary Nicholson3:15

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[20] 38
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[21] 41
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[22] 120
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[23] 30
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[24] 67
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 76
Irish Albums (IRMA)[26] 43
New Zealand Heatseekers Albums (RMNZ)[27] 5
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[28] 39
Scottish Albums (OCC)[29] 18
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 64
US Billboard 200[32] 10
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[33] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bretts, Stephen (February 1, 2017). "Willie Nelson Announces New Album 'God's Problem Child'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Grow, Kory (January 13, 2017). "Willie Nelson Reveals New Trump-Inspired Song 'Delete and Fast-Forward'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Hall, Kristin (January 12, 2017). "Willie Nelson wants Loretta Lynn to try pot again". Austin Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Crawford, Robert (February 14, 2017). "See Willie Nelson's Evocative 'A Woman's Love' Video". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Lewis, Randy (March 9, 2017). "Watch Willie Nelson's latest video, 'It Gets Easier,' from 'God's Problem Child' album". Los Angeles Times. tronc, Inc. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "Beast Exclusive: Willie Nelson Confronts Mortality in New 'Old Timer' Video". Daily Beast Video. The Daily Beast Company. March 28, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "No 'Problem': Willie Nelson's New Album Bows at No. 1". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 9, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "God's Problem Child by Willie Nelson". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "God's Problem Child - Willie Nelson". Allmusic. RhythmOne, LLC. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (April 27, 2017). "Willie Nelson Stares Down Mortality on Most Moving LP in Years". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (April 20, 2017). "Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child". Uncut. Time, Inc. (UK) Ltd. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Paul, John (April 24, 2017). "God's Problem Child". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  13. ^ Stauton, Terry. "Willie Nelson - God's Problem Child". Record Collector. Diamond Publishing Ltd. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  14. ^ Gleason, Holly (April 27, 2017). "Paste Review of the Day: Willie Nelson - God's Problem Child". Paste. Paste Media Group. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Beta, Andy (April 29, 2017). "Willie Nelson: God's Problem Child". Pichfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Blackstock, Peter (April 27, 2017). "Willie Nelson's new album proves how musically sharp he remains at 84". Austin American-Statesman. Cox Media Group. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "Album Review: Willie Nelson's 'God's Problem Child'". Sounds Like Nashville. April 28, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  18. ^ Asker, Jim (May 9, 2017). "No 'Problem': Willie Nelson's New Album Bows at No. 1". Billboard.
  19. ^ Bjorke, Matt (June 4, 2018). "Top 10 Country Albums Sales Chart: June 5, 2018". Roughstock. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  23. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  25. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  26. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Willie Nelson". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  27. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  28. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Willie Nelson – God's Problem Child". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  32. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  33. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017.