August 25, 2003 12:00 PM

Brad Paisley (Arista Nashville)

Perhaps to help compensate for his thin voice, Brad Paisley beefs up the macho posturing on his third album. The country star overdoes it, though, singing about cars, whiskey, cowboys and even stogies (on his aimless composition “The Cigar Song”). The most memorable of this disc’s 17 tracks isn’t one of the swaggering ones, but the quietly reflective “Celebrity,” Paisley’s meditation on fame: “When you’re a celebrity, it’s adios reality/ You can act just like a fool, people think you’re cool.” The traditional gospel tune “Farther Along,” though, seems out of place despite being graced by Vince Gill’s background vocals.

BOTTOM LINE: A bumpy ride

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