Country singer Brad Paisley, who's known among friends as a prankster, delivers a humorous (and slightly gross) ode to romantic love in the first single off his new album, "5th Gear," which hits stores June 19.
"I want to check you for ticks," sings Paisley in the song "Ticks." The song is climbing the country charts, and critics are definitely in on the joke.
"If the roar of laughter coming from country programmers … [is] any indication, here is Paisley's next No. 1 … with what may be the most countrified way ever of expressing lust. … Leave it to Paisley to redefine romance, while making country listeners laugh out loud," said Billboard critic Deborah Evans-Price.
Paisley had fans roaring today in New York's Bryant Park for the"Good Morning America" Summer Concert Series when he performed "Ticks," along with "The World," and an exclusive song for ABCNEWS.com called, appropriately enough, "Online."
Paisley will celebrate the release of "5th Gear" this Father's Day, as well as the birth of his first son, Will, who is 4 months old.
"Most of this record was written prior to the birth of my son. I think that influenced my writing a little bit. I can't help but think that a song like ['Letter to Me'] was inspired by the fact that the closest thing you have to a second chance in your own life is when a child comes along. He has possibilities and opportunities ahead that I can't even imagine," Paisley said in an e-mail interview with ABCNEWS.com.
The country artist said his sixth album explores new, emotional challenges while also incorporating the reflections of a new father.
"One of the first things I think of is that it's very guitar driven. But I also think that we said things in these songs that have never been said … or that we've never said at least. And I'm really proud of that," Paisley said. "I really tried to be conscious of that in my songwriting and in the songs I chose. I really feel these -- all these things we're trying to say are new, in one way or another."
Paisley said that "5th Gear" is a fitting metaphor for how he feels about his career right now.
"Fifth gear is something you only reach on a straight stretch of highway in a certain car when you get up to 60 or 70 miles per hour, and it feels like that. It feels like we're pushing things further and to new places musically," Paisley said.
Following the success of his last album, "Time Well Wasted," and the No.1 single "The World," this up-and-coming artist is looking to raise the bar even higher with "5th Gear." With songs like "It Did," which refers directly to the birth of his son, and "Letter to Me," Paisley seems to be looking ahead at life's endless possibilities -- and honing his fatherly advice.
"In 'Letter to Me', I'm writing a letter to the kid I was at 17 -- you know, telling him it's OK and not to worry," he said. "I worried all the way through high school about so many things, and I could've had a lot more fun if I'd known everything was going to turn out OK. Who knows. Maybe some teenage kid won't do something he'll always regret if he hears this and realizes that high school isn't as good as it gets."