Jimmie Allen's pop yearnings mix effortlessly with Brad Paisley's West Virginia twang and Telecaster on "Freedom Was a Highway." Allen's new single from his Bettie James EP has true radio hit potential, and it shouldn't be the slow cooker that "Best Shot" and "Make Me Want You" were.

The mood created by Allen and co-producer Ash Bowers at the onset of "Freedom Was a Highway" is much more arresting than anything he's released previously, save "This Is Us," which proved to be a bit too arresting. Sonically, it's the dark side of nostalgia — this retrospective stings a little. It's as if Allen's longing to go back to those days is born from modern pain.

"We were summer young and livin' for a Friday / And freedom was a highway," he cries at the chorus, but it's more than just the mention of painted blacktop that makes the song perfect for car and truck radios. An easy, reliable beat shuffles one along from start to finish, maintaining even energy as the vocalists switch places and Paisley offers a signature guitar solo after the bridge.

After a pair of radio-friendly hits, Allen is beginning to push toward the edges of his influences, and this is an exciting prospect for fans who know he left many compelling songs on Mercury Lane as album cuts. There may be one or two misses (see the Noah Cyrus collaboration), but the hits will take him to bigger stages.

Stoney Creek Records

Did You Know?: Allen wrote "Freedom Was a Highway" with Ash Bowers and Matt Rogers and tells CMT as soon as he was done, he started thinking about making it a Brad Paisley collaboration.

Jimmie Allen, Brad Paisley, "Freedom Was a Highway" Lyrics: 

Jimmie Allen:
Sunset through a windshield / I can see it now, like a picture in a frame / Blue jeans and t-shirts / Who we were, we wore it like a name / I wish I could go back to those days.

Chorus:
When the town was the whole world / And love was the girl next door / Soundtrack was a song in the dark / I miss those days when our dreams / Were there for chasin' / But time was better wasted / We were summer young and livin' for a Friday / And freedom was a highway / Freedom was a highway.

Brad Paisley:
Barbwire on a fencepost / With a cross-wind on a road no one was on / Five-deep with our hands up / Just singin' along to a hip-hop song / I wish I could rewind and replay.

Repeat Chorus (Allen and Paisley)

Jimmie Allen:
When you're 17 and drivin' / You don't think about the road runnin' out / No, no, no, no / You just keep your eyes on that horizon / 'Cause you're wrapped up in now.

Repeat Chorus (Allen and Paisley)

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