These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Play is either a fun diversion for Brad to show off his guitar chops like never before, or self-indulgent noodling that had no reason to exist.
Wheelhouse seems to be a polarizing album: some critics and fans think that it's great, others think it's a bloated mess that tries way too hard to be "different" from his previous albums. Especially the track "Accidental Racist".
Depending on who you ask, "Then" is either one of his best or worst songs. It's either an emotional ballad, or a boring Cliché Storm.
Cliché Storm: "Then": "And now you're my whole life / Now you're my whole world / And I just can't believe the way I feel about you, girl"… etc. etc.
"Water" is rather cliché heavy too. Wet t-shirt contests and skinny dipping ceased to be titillating ages ago.
Critical Dissonance: His albums still get generally high marks across the board. However, many fans feel that he's been phoning it in since about 5th Gear onward — main criticisms include "boring lyrics" ("Then"), "failed attempts at humor" ("Ticks", "Water", "Camouflage", "I'm Still a Guy"), and "uninspired singing" (his voice started getting a lot flatter after Time Well Wasted). This may finally be catching up with him, as in late 2011-early 2012, "Camouflage" became his first song since 2000 to miss the top 10.
It hit again with "I Can't Change the World", the third single from Wheelhouse, which quickly fizzled out at #22, his lowest peak ever.
Crowning Moment Of Awesome: Starting with "When I Get Where I'm Going" and ending with "Then," Brad scored ten consecutive #1 hits on the country music charts, the longest such streak by a country music artist in ages.
8.8: The 9513, a now-defunct music blog, gave Play one star out of five. Nearly half of the comments in the review are the reviewer defending himself. By comparison, the album got three-and-a-half stars from Allmusic, and four stars from the usually idiosyncratic and nitpicky Slant Magazine.
Narm: "Accidental Racist." Part of the reason for the above.
Unfortunate Implications: "Accidental Racist". Ironically, it's a song about unfortunate implications, namely, wearing the Confederate flag.
Values Dissonance: "Ticks", which uses "I'd like to check you for ticks" as a pickup line:
Paisley: “Working out here on the farm, I literally have to check for ticks every time I come in from the woods or the fields. Now, if a young guy who lives in the country were to take a girl into the woods for any reason, it would totally cross his mind that she’s going to have to check for ticks when they come back out. So it seems that an enterprising guy would at least consider that he could offer to check for her.”
Win Back the Crowd: After the divisive Wheelhouse album, Paisley seems to have gotten back into critics' good graces with Moonshine in the Trunk.