It's been a while since Brad Paisley had a hit like he scored with "Today." In fact, there was originally a single out before "Today" that was supposed to be a big hit. When that swing for the fences (it was a duet with Demi Lovato) became a solid single, Brad brought out "Today" and hit a home run. It was the perfect song for Love and War to start with. The album itself opens with (and closes with) "Heaven South," a song which is very much a Brad Paisley song and a song where he can show off his guitar chops (some of the best in the business). "Last Time For Everything" has a classic country lyrical story to it while the music is progressively modern. Straight out of the comedic files of "Online" we find Brad Paisley singing "selfie#theinternetisforever" a song which is biting in its look at all the stupid ways people find to take selfies which end up backfiring.
There are four major collaborators on Love and War, three of them expected and one not so. But like LL Cool J on 2013's Wheelhouse, Brad joins forces with Timbaland on a couple of tracks. "Gray Goose Chase" is a musically interesting ho-down of sorts and is mostly an instrumental while "Solar Power Girl" has a mando and banjo-laced progressive feel to it that leads me to believe that it could be Brad Paisley's best-selling hit in a while (if released). The other collaborations include the rockin' "Drive of Shame" with Mick Jagger, the title track "Love and War" with John Fogerty" (another country rocker where Paisley and Fogerty duet on both vocal and guitars) and "Dying To See Her" with Bill Anderson. All three of the songs work on their own and all 3 could find a home somewhere in bigger spotlights in the coming months and year though the Fogerty track has the most mainstream appeal.
Serious moments are laced in between not so serious moments. One serious song is "The Devil Is Alive And Well." Some may call it a preachy sort of song but it's the kind of Gospel country song that Brad Paisley has always done well. The album's 15th full track, "Meaning Again" is a nice closing track (before the reprise of opening song "Heaven South") and like a few others, it is ready for radio success. After a little bit of time to work on his music outside of the spotlight, Brad Paisley has created, with Love and War, a project which rivals his best work, even if the album is more or less what fans would've wanted out of another Brad Paisley record.