Life on a Rock

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Life on a Rock
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 30, 2013 (2013-04-30)
RecordedDecember 2012 – January 2013
Kenny Chesney chronology
Welcome to the Fishbowl
Life on a Rock
The Big Revival
Singles from Life on a Rock
  1. "Pirate Flag"
    Released: February 4, 2013
  2. "When I See This Bar"
    Released: June 10, 2013

Life on a Rock is the fourteenth studio album by American country music artist Kenny Chesney. It was released on April 30, 2013 via Blue Chair and Columbia Records.[1][2] Chesney co-wrote eight of the album's ten tracks[3] and co-produced the album with Buddy Cannon.[4] It was recorded in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Jamaica, Key West, London and Nashville.[5] The album includes the singles "Pirate Flag"[6] and "When I See This Bar". This was Chesney's first album since 2008's Lucky Old Sun to not have a Top 40 hit on the pop chart. This was also his first album since 1996's Me and You to not produce a single number one hit on the country charts.


Country Weekly's Jon Freeman thought that "Lindy" and "Happy on the Hey Now" were "poignant sketches of people he's encountered over the years", and that some of the songs showed "the motivations behind his relentless career building". He criticized "Marley" and "It's That Time of Day" for "meander[ing] aimlessly", and thought that "Pirate Flag" did not fit thematically with the album.[7]

Kenny Chesney stated that the last song "Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)" was written in memoriam about Kristi Lynn Hansen (March 16, 1976 Stanford, Maine–March 6, 2012 Chapel Hill, North Carolina),[8][9] She was a long-time resident and local of the island of Saint John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Chesney had a residence, and frequently lived on the island and in the city of Cruz Bay.[9] Hansen was an employee of Woody's and La Tapa restaurants.[9] Hey Now was the name of a boat that Hansen and Chesney used to have a jovial time during their stays on the island.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[11]
Calgary Herald3/5 stars[12]
Country WeeklyB-[7]
Los Angeles Times2/4 stars[13]
The Oakland Press3/4 stars[15]
Roughstock4.5/5 stars[16]
The Salt Lake TribuneB[17]
Taste of Country3/5 stars[18]
USA Today2.5/4 stars[19]

Life on a Rock has received generally positive reviews from the critics. At Metacritic, a website which assigns a weighted average score to mainstream critics ratings and reviews, the album received a metascore of 67, based on six reviews.[10] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic noted how Chesney's "effort pays off", due to the fact that "this feels fuller, richer than any Chesney album in recent memory, but it's also unhurried and light, an ideal soundtrack for a long, lazy summer."[11] Freeman of Country Weekly called the album "a mixed bag" that the "most exciting moments come when Kenny pushes his limits on something unusual", and found that Chesney "sounds genuinely exhausted, making his need for respite in the islands all the more understandable."[7] Got Country Online's Phyllis Hunter rated the album a perfect five-stars, and affirmed that the album is "Chesney’s most personal, most confident journey yet, and oh yes, confidence is indeed a heady aphrodisiac."[20]

At The Oakland Press, Gary Graff told that the release "makes sober pondering sound like a wholly engaging pursuit."[15] Chuck Yarborough of The Plain Dealer graded the album a B+, which he called it "eight of the 10 cuts on this intensely personal", and noted that "perhaps his best album."[21] Matt Bjorke of Roughstock stated that "if you truly take in the album for what it is, a strong, well-written and well-made album meant to take you out of whatever is chaotic in life, you'll be in for one of the best albums of Kenny Chesney's career."[16] David Burger of The Salt Lake Tribune called the release "breezy", which he stated that "while the collection doesn’t break any new ground, and isn’t well-suited to blasting on a car stereo, it shows off Chesney’s always-comforting voice and song-writing talents that too rarely emerge."[17] At the USA Today, Brian Mansfield evoked that "Chesney's always been able to live in the moment; now, he sounds like he's appreciating them more than ever."[19] The Boston Globe's Sarah Rodman praised the album because she told that Chesney "hits a high-water mark."[22]

At Calgary Herald, Mike Bell affirmed that "it's hard to imagine a more predictable collection of songs than the superstar’s 10-track cabana Life On A Rock."[12] Taste of Country's Billy Dukes alluded to "perhaps the songwriting is clunky at times — and a few songs rely too heavily on his vocal talents instead of a captivating melody or story — but it’s difficult to criticize a project that’s so honest, and at times, vulnerable."[18] At Newday, Glenn Gamboa found that the release "finds Chesney stretching into unfamiliar territory that he hasn't quite mastered yet", but according to Gamboa Chesney "should remember, though, that trying something new requires a little more effort."[14] The New York Times's Jon Caramanica told that "Mr. Chesney is a superstar, the idea goes, and therefore can do what he wants", but "except when he can't, of course."[23] At Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood found that "Chesney's tone-deafness here seems especially egregious because it's surrounded by better, smarter material."[13]

Track listing[edit]

1."Pirate Flag"3:45
2."When I See This Bar"
3."Spread the Love" (with The Wailers and Elán)4:16
5."Coconut Tree" (with Willie Nelson)3:24
6."It's That Time of Day"Chesney4:53
7."Life on a Rock"Chesney2:53
9."Must Be Something I Missed"3:10
10."Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)"Chesney5:26
Total length:42:29


Chart performance[edit]

The album has sold 392,000 copies in the US as of December 2013.[24]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 4
US Billboard 200 1
US Billboard Top Country Albums 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Position
US Billboard 200[25] 70
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[26] 16


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Country US Country Airplay US CAN Country
2013 "Pirate Flag" 7 3 46 6 53 * US: Gold[28]
"When I See This Bar" 25 14 84 14
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ Bjorke, Matt (March 12, 2013). "Kenny Cesney "Life On A Rock" Tracklist and Cover Art". Roughstock. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (March 13, 2013). "Kenny Chesney Reveals Track Listing for 'Life on a Rock'". Taste of Country. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Conaway, Alanna (February 1, 2013). "Kenny Chesney To Release "Life On A Rock" on April 30". Roughstock. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Duvall, Erin (January 31, 2013). "Kenny Chesney 'Life on a Rock' Album Reflects 'Real Small Town' Living". The Boot. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Wyland, Sarah (February 1, 2013). "Kenny Chesney Reveals New Album Title: Life On A Rock". Great American Country. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Wyland, Sarah (March 13, 2013). "Kenny Chesney Offers Instant Download of New Song with Album Pre-Orders". Great American Country. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Freeman, Jon (April 30, 2013). "Life on a Rock by Kenny Chesney". Country Weekly. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  8. ^ "Memorial Obituaries Hansen, Kristi". Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Griffin Chapel. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d Country 92.5 (April 23, 2013). "Who is Kristi Hansen?". WWYZ. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Metacritic (April 30, 2013). "Critic Reviews for Life on a Rock". CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (April 28, 2013). "Life on a Rock - Kenny Chesney : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Bell, Mike (April 29, 2013). "Now Hear This: Reviews of new albums: Life On A Rock - Kenny Chesney". Calgary Herald. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (May 2, 2013). "Album review: Tone deaf moments mar Kenny Chesney's 'Life on a Rock'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (April 26, 2013). "Kenny Chesney's 'Life on a Rock' review: Too laid-back". Newsday. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Graff, Gary (April 27, 2013). "Listening Room: Kenny Chesney runs deep, reflective with "Life On a Rock"". The Oakland Press. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (April 26, 2013). "Album Review: Kenny Chesney - Life On A Rock". Roughstock. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Burger, David (April 29, 2013). "CD Review: Kenny Chesney's 'Life On a Rock". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Dukes, Billy (April 30, 2013). "Kenny Chesney, 'Life on a Rock' – Album Review". Taste of Country. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  19. ^ a b Mansfield, Brian (April 25, 2013). "Chesney's new 'Rock' is more wistful than carefree". USA Today. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  20. ^ Hunter, Phyllis (April 29, 2013). "ALBUM REVIEW: Kenny Chesney "Life On A Rock"". Got Country Online. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  21. ^ Yarborough, Chuck (April 28, 2013). "Kenny Chesney flexes his songwriter muscles, with winning results on 'Life on the Rock' (CD review)". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  22. ^ Rodman, Sarah (April 30, 2013). "CD pick: Kenny Chesney, 'Life on a Rock'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  23. ^ Caramanica, Jon (April 29, 2013). "New Albums From Iggy and the Stooges, Darcy James Argue and Kenny Chesney". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  24. ^ Bjorke, Matt (4 December 2013). "Country Album Chart News: The Week of December 4, 2013: Featuring Scotty McCreery, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Cassadee Pope, Duck Dynasty's Robertson Family". Roughstock. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums: Year-End top-selling albums across all genres". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Top Country Albums: 2013 Year-End Charts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  27. ^ "Kenny Chesney Album & Song Chart History - Canada Country". Billboard. Nielsen Company. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  28. ^ "American single certifications – Kenny Chesney – Pirate Flag". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.