“The Mountain” review

Album art for Bentley’s ninth studio album, “The Mountain.”

Courtesy of Capitol Records

Album art for Bentley’s ninth studio album, “The Mountain.”

With summer still heating up, Dierks Bentley’s latest album “The Mountain” provides a mellow sound that is perfect for kicking back at the pool. He blends music accessible to mainstream pop lovers and longtime country fans alike, while still retaining both his musical and personal roots to create a down to earth experience. Bentley has been a name within country music since 2003, and this latest album provides a reflection on his roguish personality, light enough to be mindlessly enjoyed on a drive around town but with enough substance to provide a little food for thought.

The entire album has one cohesive vibe and overall sound: moving guitar lines complimenting a message of self-acceptance and going with the flow. The first five songs mesh perfectly together, weaving an image of Bentley as a blend of a youthful and mischievous boy at heart, with enough life experience to look forward at the unknown future with placid composure. For a soundtrack to summer, this balanced heart of the album provides a constant upbeat backdrop to a fun afternoon at Forest Park alongside a space for a peaceful morning breakfast alone.

The only single to hit the radio thus far is “Woman, Amen,” and it has reached No. 8 on the Billboard country music charts for good reason. Bentley allows the most joy and energy to shine through in this song, making it a compelling track perfect for any pool party. “Burning Man” is the most similar, and the only song on the album that I have added to my current playlist. These two are the songs that you can’t help but smile at, and set a good tone for the more serious songs that come later.

While the message was wholesome and clear, the lyrics themselves were often overly simple, with some very awkward failed attempts at humor. The worst culprits of this were “My Religion” and “Son of the Sun;” musically solid along with the rest of the album, the lyrics fell disappointingly short here. “Son of the Sun” had the potential to be a lighthearted freedom jam for warm nights, but Bentley’s choice to crush these positive lyrics with a somber tone was a real mistake. These two songs were noticeable letdowns, but not enough to fully kill the album as a whole.

Most of this album was nice to listen to once, but not things I plan on adding to my playlist or putting on repeat. The singles that got released before the full album are where the summer sound and the highest quality of music lies, and those certainly merit a listen from listeners of any genre. Bentley’s latest work is not the smash hit of the summer, but the quality of the music and the heartfelt message are enough to make it worth checking out.

The Pathfinder gives Dierks Bentley’s “The Mountain” a 7.6/10.