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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A little background before I ever review ONE OF THE BOYS for itself. Bear with me.

Honestly, this isn't the way it should've gone down for Gretchen Wilson. When HERE FOR THE PARTY bowed in 2004, it was the most (or atleast one of the most)anticipated country album(s) of the year. It slid in behind the unstoppable Usher who'd had the no. 1 spot locked for several weeks and sold 228,000, not bad for a debut artist. It spawned the massive crossover hit "Redneck Woman", which peaked in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, a very esteemed achievement for a country single. It propelled her debut album to multi-platinum status - approximately 4 million sold in just the U.S. alone. With the processes of propelling a debut artist to success with here debut album, all looked like it was set it stone that Gretchen Wilson was country's next big superstar in the league of Faith Hill or Shania Twain. Then 2005's ALL JACKED UP arrived to debut at no. 1 with 264,000, more than here debut. However, the "Redneck Woman" styled single "All Jacked Up" failed to rack up reviews even close to that of the single that made Gretchen Wilson, well Gretchen Wilson. Sure, the album didn't go unnoticed in the sense that it didn't sell, but how does 1.1 million compare to 4 million. Making a promising career's problems worse, ONE OF THE BOYS just maybe the sinker. With a tepid no. 5 debut and a devastatingly low 73,000 copies sold, first week sales and follow-up week sales of this fine country album by Wilson have been disappointing.

Sure, ONE OF THE BOYS is a credible, strong effort. But ONE OF THE BOYS lacks two things that made even the underrated ALL JACKED UP a moderate success. One, it lacks "Redneck Woman" which will probably never be replicated by Wilson, ever and two, it lacks anything that remotely sounds close to "Redneck Woman". Even ALL JACKED UP had "All Jacked Up", despite how unnoticed it ultimately went. It's that 'bad-girl' appeal that Wilson had on HERE FOR THE PARTY that disipated with her forthcoming albums that lost some of Wilson's fans. That coupled with the growing devastation of album sales has practically sunk ONE OF THE BOYS. Enough chit-chat about commercial success, let me discuss the album itself.

The album opens with "Girl I Am", which is solid G.W., though not as energized or as exhilarating as the openings of previous G.W. albums ("Here for the Party" and "All Jacked Up"). Vocally, Wilson is great and there is still an air of catchiness as Wilson sings lines like "I don't ever make apologies/ because I don't give a damn..." which leaves hope to the fans that left Wilson that the 'redneck woman' is still in her. "Come To Bed" features John Rich from none other than crazy country duo Big & Rich and the blend is magnificent between him and G.W. The songwriting is top-rate and the hook is more accesible for singing along here than it was on "Girl I Am". Sure, it isn't the second coming, but what is these days? "One of the Boys" serves to buck the trend with title-tracks and despite its conservative tempo, the songwriting is ever vigorous with its comical overtones and Wilson as always is at her best, 'redneck woman' or not. Three for three ladies and gents.

"You Don't Have to Go Home" is the best track up to this point from ONE OF THE BOYS with its country-rock feel and sick guitars. Despite the repetitive nature of the track, it keeps the air of 'traditionalist' country alive and that is very important. "Heaven Help Me" shows an even mellower Wilson (which seems to be an adverse effect for some fans unfortunatly) backed by acoustic sounds of piano, guitar, and strings. Despite her mellow turn, the bluesed-out "There's a Place in the Whiskey" is more production than vocal, but it is a welcome addition to G.W.'s catalogue of songs. Sure it's a bit too busy, but none can deny the potent nature of the blues licks. "If You Want A Mother" is solid while "Pain Killer" is a bit awkward, though still a solid track. What is notable about "Pain Killer", which is by no means my favorite track, is that vocally Wilson is at her strongest and the songwriting is nearly flawless. Eight for eight and still going strong.

"There Goes The Neighborhood" is a personal favorite of mine once again employing blues-influenced riffs. "Good Ole Boy" uses 'cutesy' songwriting, which the unstoppable G.W. pulls off perfectly. Finally the closer "To Tell You the Truth" is heavier in its overall tone as Wilson tackles serious songwriting, which may/may not be a hindrance. It isn't catchy like the rest of her tunes, but if you commit yourself as a true Gretchen Wilson fan, you will appreciate the message and the idea that Wilson is trying to emote on the closing track.

Overall, ONE OF THE BOYS would be a fine album if it was another country artist besides Gretchen Wilson, which is unfortunate. No, it isn't as memorable as her first and maybe in some respects as her underrated second, but it is still very fine in my eyes, despite what the charts or anybody says. I hope that ONE OF THE BOY'S commercial woes don't sink the career of a very promising, young country star. 4 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This third CD may be Ms. Wilson's best project as a package. The songs are lyrically superior to some earlier work and delve deeper into heart and soul. While some men might find it difficult to identify with some of the tracks, there are others which men should appreciate. There is humor in "There Goes The Neighborhood" and "If You Want a Mother." There is the deepest of soul-searching in "Heaven Help Me" and "To Tell You The Truth." Each track has the ability to reach to the day-to-day aspects of life. Yet, while acknowledging the difficulties in the world of most people, these songs somehow leave one feeling that life can be good and whatever is bad isn't the end of the world. The sound on the album is crisp and clear. The instruments on this album are so skillfully utilized that you feel you've heard masterful playing and great vocal support. A great work from all those involved!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2007
One of the Boys I really enjoyed this cd by Gretchen Wilson. One song in particular stands out and that is 'COME TO BED" (featuring John Rich), it speaks of never going to bed angry with each other. This cd is varied in subjects and straight to the point as only Gretchen can be. Can be enjoyed by one and all no matter what kind of music you like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2007
ONE OF THE BOYS offers a collection of songs that documents musical superiority. Ms. Wilson continues to convey emotions beyond most, if not all, contemporary country performers. The lyrics for each musical story bares the performer's soul.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Prime Cuts: Good Ole Boy, Heaven Help Me, If You Want a Mother

When Gretchen Wilson asserts on her mega hit "Redneck Woman" that she would bypass a pricey Victoria Secret's product in favor of a half-priced Walmart look-a-like, she has given affirmation that worth is not found in our outward appearance. Rather it is being who we are. Her gallant ability to bring perspicuity to life's values in a way that engages the average Joe and Jane, has made Wilson one of the best selling female artists post-Shania Twain. And for album number three, this redneck woman has taken her self-professing homily to heart as "One of the Boys" is bankrupt of any pretension. Instead, Wilson airs her frustrations, joys and admonitions about life, love and relationships with diary-like frankness augmented with an occasional swirl of wit. Though less bottom-kicking and hard-edged as her former 2 discs, Wilson does explores her softer side via the presence of more introspective ballads. However, with the coalescence of the ever provocative Muzikmafia's John Rich still on the co-producer's chair and Wilson's incendiary 3-D personality, this CD is anything but boring.

Her more malleable trait is given exposition on the uptempo "The Girl I Am." No longer "the eight ball shooting double fisted woman," "The Girl I Am" finds Wilson giving privy to her inner fears and hurts. Similarly, on the title cut, she confesses her need to be "somebody's baby" despite her uncouth often tuff-chic image. On the hymn-like ballad "Heaven Help Me," Wilson looks for redemption for all her wrongs in what is perhaps her most heartfelt performance to date. While lead single "Come to Bed," a duet with John Rich, is a big Tim McGraw/Faith Hill typed ballad about finding an alternative to domestic disharmony. However, truth be told, "Bed" is a little too pedantic for a lead single, that's why it's of no surprise to find "Bed" prematurely sizzled at the paltry 36th position on the Billboard chart. Delving into the more stone-country mores, "Painkiller" is injected with a melancholic dose of Tammy-Wynette lament that ought to warrant yahoos from her more traditional-leaning fans.

The party crowd would be sated with "If You Want a Mother." In sync with her outspoken character, "If You Want a Mother" is a strident dress-down with Wilson demanding her no-good paramour to have his "butt back by nine" or be "grounded for the weekend." Despite her malevolence towards the male species, Wilson confesses that she still gets wobbly over an outdoors blue-collared man in the catchy "Good Ole Boy." However, despite the presence of songwriters of note including John Rich of Big and Rich, Rivers Rutherford, George Teren and Vicky McGehee, there's nothing here that stands out as a surefire hit, the way "Redneck Woman" did.

Nevertheless, on the whole, "One of the Boys" is brought to life by Wilson's larger than life's personality. Her unabashed and (at times) brutal honesty in dealing with the warts of relationships set her apart from country music's faux Barbie dolls who only sing about roses and valentines. Even when she goes for the heart to expound on issues of intimacy, she incarnates a realism that is too compelling to ignore.
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Firstly, let me say that I think Gretchen Wilson could be the salvation of today's country music. She is just the antidote we need to all the half-hearted or self-conscious country singing so prevalent right now.

That said, while this album is certainly enjoyable and shows us a music career still full of promise, I did not feel that it is on par with her two previous albums. I say this not in terms of quality, but in less tangible terms of that vocal fire and passion that Gretchen showed in the past. The latest Gretchen is a more vulnerable and introspective; can't we have this and the devil-may-care Gretchen, too? Unfortunately it seems that when a strong female singer who does not conform to the country-diva image arrives on the scene, soon the industry clips her wings and calls it showing her "sensitive" side. Now this may not have been the intent of this album, but female vocalists especially tend to mellow out and lose their edge over time.

In sum, buy this album for the Gretchen that could be, because she may become that in the future. For all of us who still appreciate butt-kicking country and real, raw emotion, buy this album because Gretchen Wilson is that. She doesn't have to run from the "Redneck Woman" stereotype or fear being pigeonholed. Gretchen, don't compensate or compromise. Country music is counting on you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2007
Yes this cd may be different from her first two, but it's honest and straight from the heart which is one of the reasons so many of her fans including myself can relate to.
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ANOTHER GREAT CD BY GRETCHEN WILSON!!! This one contains 11 great songs.
Some of my favorites include: "the girl I am", "Come to Bed" with John Rich, "one of the boys", "You don't Have to go Home", "Heaven help me", there goes the neighborhood", and "Good Ole Boy". I got to see Gretchen live in concert in her Redneck Revolution Tour of 2006, She's great and this cd is great. Buy it, You'll like it!!! thanks, and may God Bless!!!
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on January 13, 2008
One of the boys............. what can i say?
Gretchen is here again with what could arguably be described as the material remaining in the initial barrel. Dont get me wrong, Redneck Woman did it for me and I have been a fan since but this album was just a little too much the same. It will be interesting to see if an album of fresher material makes it to release before a 'Best Of' disc.
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on September 25, 2013
Gretchen Wynonna and Lee Ann are my fave country females. I love the songs Heaven Help Me and If U Want A Mother (who I dedicate to my bf cuz he's a a-hole!!!) But the whole album is good. This one and All Jacked Up are the best. Gretchen speaks 4 all the girlz n boyz who r country pimpin and know what time it is,
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