Remembering a hot release from one of the 1990’s-era country music stalwarts on this Classic Album Review. Clay Walker sold over a million copies of his 1995 release, Hypnotize the Moon. Released on the Giant label in October of that year, the album yielded four singles, of which three reached the top ten.
The album kicks off with one of the top ten hits, “Who Needs You Baby”, which just missed number one in the latter part of 1995. Good, solid melody that sticks with you and good for some occasional spins.
One of the album’s best tracks is “I Won’t Have the Heart”. A great track that should have been a single, in my opinion. One of the album’s high points, featuring strong lyrics and a great melody. How did this get overlooked???
Great fiddle intro for “Let Me Take the Heartache (Off Your Hands)”, a pure country ballad. This is the kind of song you point to when someone complains about 1990’s Country; yes, there was good, strong Country music in that decade, and not all of it made it to the radio.
One that did make it to radio and very nearly number one, is the album’s title track. I’d argue that “Hypnotize the Moon” was one of the decade’s best ballads. Simply an outstanding piece.
“Hand Me Down Heart” is a song you’ll likely think okay; good beat, but a track that left me with no real like or dislike at its conclusion.
“Only on Days That End In ‘Y” was the album’s third top ten hit, and it peaked at five during the Summer of 1996. Maybe a step below the album’s other two top ten hits, strength-wise, but still a good track that’s fun and easy to like.
Another outstanding track is the ballad “Where Were You”, Simply put, nothing to not like about this track. Strong, solid material.
“Loving You Comes Naturally to Me” is okay, but really didn’t hold my attention. Seemed to drag, some.
The album’s fourth single was the only one to miss the top ten. “Bury the Shovel” peaked at eighteen during the Fall of 1996. A slow, Spanish-style start morphs into a quick paced piece. Average lyrics, but I’ve always liked the melody, particularly the refrain, which I would consider to be rather catchy. Probably the biggest strength of this song is Clay Walker singing it.
“A Cowboy’s Toughest Ride” has a melody and feel that is slightly reminiscent of the Boy Howdy hit “A Cowboy’s Born with A Broken Heart”. I like this one. Fine effort, on this ballad.
The album wraps with yet another ballad, “Love Me Like You Love Me”. Good, solid track to end the album.
Overall, a nice dose of pure country music, that highlighted excellent vocalizing from Clay Walker. While Clay scored several hits, and did well with album sales, he should have got more acclaim during the decade. One of country music’s, better vocalists of that era, Hypnotize the Moon is strong evidence to support my opinion. This is a solid 4.5 out of 5 album, with no real weaknesses in the songs. If you’re a Clay Walker fan, then this album may already be in your collection.
As always, you’re welcome to leave your opinion in the comment section.
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About Thy Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. After convincing Vincennes University in Indiana to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting, he has spent most of his adult life on the radio, having worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina, including his current gig, hosting the weekly World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show. You can hear the show Thursdays, 4-7p ET on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM, which is at 103.3 FM in Asheville, North Carolina, as well as online at ashevillefm.org. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.