This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
The more things change for Dwight Yoakam, the more his music stays the same.
Since his last album, the veteran country-rocker has seen his movie career take off and his music career gear down (after 15 years years on a major, he’s newly relocated to the smaller digs of an indie label). But on his 14th release Population: Me, Yoakam continues to stick to his musical guns — unfortunately, with mixed results.
Sure, the two-step backbeats, the walking basslines, the shimmering pedal steel guitars, the tinkly pianos, the Bakersfield grooves, the twangy leads — and, of course, Dwight’s high-lonesome yodel and top-notch traditional songcraft — will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s spent quality time with Yoakam’s music. But they might be a hair too familiar; there’s a fine line between being consistent and being stuck in a rut, after all. Ultimately, the slightness of Population: Me — just 10 songs that last half an hour — and its predictability make you wonder if Dwight is just going through the motions. Even so, though, it’s comforting to know that after all these years, he’s still a honky-tonk man.