Tyler Farr began his career like many of his counter parts. He wrote some songs for Joe Nichols and Colt Ford, earned a record deal, and cashed in hard on bro-country. His first top-ten single (third overall single) “Redneck Crazy” helped Farr get noticed. His follow-up of “Whiskey in My Water” proved to be a worthy single to further establish Farr as a productive mainstream country act for his label. However, it appeared that Farr was just a one-trick pony riding the wave of country music’s newest fad. With that said, Farr showed a different side of himself on a new single ahead of new album, Suffer in Peace, and maybe silenced a bit of doubters. And there are just enough moments on Suffer in Peace to show that Tyler Farr is capable of more than bro-country.
Ironically though, you wouldn’t know it by the opening track. “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.” is a song where Tyler Farr simply lists a ton of incoherent things that apparently make him country. And to be frank, you can’t even understand half of his list items because he screams almost all of it on top of heavy drum beats and guitars. Also Farr proudly exclaims how having “truck nuts” hanging on his pickup is something awesome and country. When I see truck nuts on someone’s truck, I don’t think you’re cool or country, I only think of a word that starts with a “D” and ends with an “ouche.” This is by far the worst song on the album, so we only go up from here.
Up next is “A Guy Walks Into a Bar.” Josh rightfully praised the song in his review for its writing and depth. It was a good cut by Farr for the album. The polished, rock/country blend of “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” finds itself on many of the other songs of Suffer In Peace. “Withdrawals” is a good example of that production; in fact, this sounds more like a straight rock song. Content-wise, Farr compares his love to drugs and booze, and how her leaving him is putting him in withdrawals. Yawn. I’m becoming very annoyed with this Ke$ha, “Your Love is my Drug” trope. I understand there’s an underlying pain to song’s sentiment, but it feels like a cheap way to tell a heartbreak story. Also it sounds like Tyler Farr is trying way to hard to evoke the emotion of the song; his vocal delivery on this track is off-putting to me.
Tyler Farr brings in Jason Aldean to help him out on a song called “Damn Good Friends.” Surprisingly, this song is actually kind of good. It carries many of the same themes from another friend song collaborations you may remember: Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” Farr calls his “damn good friends” after driving his car into a ditch while drinking and driving. Aldean calls his friends to back him up in a bar fight. The production is rather safe pop country, and the vocals for both Farr and Aldean work well on this track. Following that is probably the best song of the entire album. “Suffer in Peace” is about Farr contemplating leaving town after a breakup. It tortures him to see her with another man, and he dreams of being out in the country, far away from it all where he can soul search and suffer in peace. This is how you tell a heartbreak story. The stripped down production aided by Tyler Farr’s vocal performance fit nicely with the material.
“Raised to Pray” is an interesting tune for me. On one hand, the song holds to religion proudly, even reflecting back on times where more devotion should have been given to reading the Bible. On the other hand though, the sentiment of being raised to pray seems to come off as an excuse for being reckless and sinful. The story is all over the place, not really developing anything to latch onto. The song just sort of hangs there in limbo. Also, the hip-hop effects added into the already overproduced rock production certainly doesn’t help its case. “Criminal” shuffles between a hip-hop infused verse melody, a decently country chorus production, and a rock and roll guitar solo. The song itself is about comparing a woman to a criminal because she stole all his bad days and left him with good ones. Overall, the song is weirdly aggressive for the point to come across clearly.
“Better in Boots” is your token, bro-country song. Attractive female? Check. Friday night? Check. Full moon? Check. A weird hip-hop infusion with the country? Check. This song is Tyler Farr trying to be hip and sexy, and he is neither of those things. It comes off as creepy more than anything. However, “Poor Boy” shows a better side of Farr singing a love song. This is simply about how Farr isn’t as wealthy as the girl he’s in love with, and the differences in their social class raises some eyebrows in her crowd. But those differences don’t matter to them because they have an honest love for one another. There’s a good amount of authenticity to the story’s sentiment. “Poor Boy” is on the positive side of Suffer in Peace.
Tyler Farr sings of heartbreak again in “I Don’t Even Want This Beer.” And again, this heartbreak song is well done. There’s a bit of hip-hop elements in the production, but that gets abandoned in the chorus. Farr sings of moping and drinking at a bar on a Tuesday while she moves on from the relationship. He knows that he should be calling her to apologize, but he just sits at the bar wondering why he’s there. I think his vocals here are good. The album ends with “Why We Live Here.” This is another anthem to living the simple life: a good house, loyal friends, freedom, baseball, and of course, beer. Farr gives thanks for these privileges and says we live here because God gifted it to us, and the sacrifices of the military protect those freedoms. The message of the song is nice, but it hits on way too many clichés and panders quite a bit to the south. It’s another list of things he does in the country, just with less attempts to sound bad ass as opposed to the opening track.
Overall Suffer in Peace shows two sides of Tyler Farr. There’s the side where he digs deep and shows some vulnerability with some good, well-written heartbreakers; the side the album is named for. Then you have the other side where Tyler Farr wants you to know how much of a cool, tough, country boy he can be; the side where the album’s picture of Farr on a 4-wheeler comes into play. This tough guy side comes off a bit trashy at times and isn’t anything new to the country music world. However, Farr separates himself a bit from his male counterparts with ballads that are spread throughout the album. While the production is rather consistent throughout, the drastic differences in attitudes and stories are a bit jarring when listening to it. Suffer in Peace is better than I thought it would be, but still doesn’t offer much more than a few songs worth listening to again.