Luke Bryan's new album Crash My Party hit shelves this week. His last release, Tailgates & Tanlines, produced some of the worst stuff on the radio in the past two years, but had some decent album cuts to redeem itself as just a mediocre album. The title track was the first single and seemed like a move in the right direction for Luke. While not the greatest song, it was a serious improvement and had me a little intrigued to hear this album. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when I put it on.
This album is a tough one to grade. Musically, besides the terrible opener "That's My Kind Of Night" (full review here) the album stays fairly country. The songs tend to stay on the mellow side. The arrangements are standard pop country, with lots of guitars and some fiddle and steel used sparsely. Songs like "Roller Coaster", "Goodbye Girl", and "Blood Brothers" do a fairly decent job of having some halfway thoughtful lyrics and story telling. These aren't classics, but in today's format, they aren't bad. "Blood Brothers" particularly is a strong song, probably my favorite of the album. Songs like "Crash My Party" and "Drink A Beer" have a little more thoughtfulness to them, but they still rely on Luke's go-to formula for a hit: parties and drinking. Even Luke's songs that have more meaning still focus on these themes. Sure, country music and beer go together like Florida-Georgia Line and wallet chains, but that doesn't mean it has to be in every song. Luke knows where the money is and he follows it, but that well will run dry someday if he keeps going back so often.
The rest of the album is pretty much the same song. Seriously. Its all beer, parties, dirt roads, country girls, blah blah blah. Some are fast, some are slow. Some are funny, some are sad (but not too sad). All in all, its the same thing. "We Run This Town" and "Dirt Road Diary" are the better of the bunch, but are still nothing new or fresh. "Beer In The Headlights" is pretty rough, and "That's My Kind of Night" is absolutely terrible. "Play It Again" is pretty pointless as well, but it sounds destined to be a radio single at some point. "Shut It Down" is a farming themed song, which he does a lot on his albums, but its once again overrun by girls and sweet tea instead of being an accurate description of farm life.
Luke Bryan is a shining example of a nice guy who came to Nashville to be a big star and let the suits and big wigs do their best with him. He seems to genuinely be a decent guy, and seems to care about country music. He has been led down the wrong road, chasing dollars and the affection of a demographic who will forget him as soon as a gray hair or a wrinkle appear on his face. Maybe when Luke has aged and this stage has passed, Luke will find his way. He has a killer voice and is a talented songwriter. Right now, he is still chasing fame and fortune and until that ends, I can't be on board with this album.
Standout Tracks: "Crash My Party", "Roller Coaster", "Blood Brothers"
"Crash My Party" Music Video