Friday, August 7, 2015

Luke Bryan "Kill The Lights" Album Review

     Well every one's favorite metro-sexual pretty boy is back with a new album of big hits for the soccer mom and preteen in your life.  Luke has made quite a name for himself in his illustrious career, starting off as a strong vocalist with  throwback sound, and morphing into a caricature of the frat-boy country lifestyle.  Kill the Lights promised growth and maturity from Luke.  I don't see it.  This isn't art or music, it is marketing and demographic targeting.  Luke is officially no longer a country music artist, he is a marketing gimmick through and through.

     Make no mistake about it, the music is simply a formality at this point.  Kill The Lights is a dull, bland album full of songs that seem to run together.  There appears to be little to no thought or attention to detail put into any of the tracks.  As can be expected, you still have your "party on the tailgate" bullcrap that this 40 year old father can't seem to outgrow.  The worst offender of this is the lead single "Kick The Dust Up" (Full Review Here).  It sounds like Gomer Pyle mashed with 8 Mile.  Not a good look.  But never one to let a lame trend pass by, Luke also has some funky disco-country sex songs, like the title track.  None of these songs even matter.  Luke Bryan is a sex symbol.  Go read the reviews on iTunes for this album.  There are hundreds of 5 star reviews that were written before this album was even released, with thought provoking sentiments such as "OMG, Luke is SO hottt!  Can't wait for this album, I already know it will be gr8!"  These people don't need to hear the music.  They want to look at Luke.  The record label decided to attack this point head on with this release, and with Luke being the spineless, gutless puppet that he is, he embraced it with arms wide open.  They released the lyric video for "Kill The Lights" (a song about sex) through the sex app dating app Tinder.  Of course, Luke had to reiterate that he was happily married and didn't use Tinder.  Here's a fantastic idea: let's not use married men as our sex symbols!  There are plenty of unmarried country douchebags that you can pimp out through Tinder.  This whole fiasco is incredibly devoid of class and moral fortitude. The same week, Yankee Candle released a Luke Bryan scented candle.  Why anyone would want a candle that presumably smells like a mix of fruity wine coolers, preteen angst, and shame is beyond me.  But, it falls perfectly in line with the idea to sell Luke Bryan as an object, not an artist.  Throw in provocative songs like "Strip It Down" and the incredibly bad "Home Alone Tonight" and you have the recipe for a prostitute of a country artist.  The aforementioned "Home Alone Tonight" is not a little ditty about hanging out with Macaulay Culkin.  It is a trashy hook-up song about going home with a random person in a bar and sending pictures of it to your ex.  Very mature.  Considering this guy's target demographic is either married or in middle school, you have a conflict of interest either way.  Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild joins Luke on this disaster, further spiraling Little Big Town down the wormhole of suckitude as well.  It is a shame to see great talent succumb to money signs.

     Every time I listen to an album from an artist I usually do not like, I try to do so with an open mind and find the good in it.  That was a difficult task here.  The beginning of this album is sex and funk.  The middle is bland and forgettable.  The end of the album, however, has a spark.  It is a faint, tiny spark that is only visible if you squint just the right way, but it is there nonetheless.  "To The Moon and Back" is a fantastic love song that is tender and sweet.  It makes absolutely no sense in the context of this album, but it is a great song on its own and shows the vocal ability that Luke has when he wants to put effort in.  "Huntin', Fishin', and Lovin' Every Day" has the cheesy lyrics that the title would suggest, but the music has a definite country feel.  Even with the generic lyrics, its hard not to like the song as it actually sounds like a country song for once.  This is the Luke that we used to like when he started out.  "Scarecrows" is a good song that teeters on being a great song.  It deals with Luke reminiscing on his youth in the country.  Unlike most songs in this vein, it is done with a mature standpoint rather than a childish party.  I really want to love this song, but I cringe every time he drops the "pass it around" line.  Luke can't even do a mature song with some lame party reference.  Despite that, it is a very enjoyable song.  If the last three songs were replicated, Luke would be showing real growth as an artist and be back on my good graces.  Instead, the only decent moments are shoved to the back as an aside to the marketing ploys.

     I feel it needs to be noted that Luke's debut album was called I'll Stay Me.  Irony can be so depressing.  Luke has the charisma, voice, and stage presence to be one of the greatest country artists of our generation.  Rather than take his talent and make a stand for at least some artistic merit, he has sold out past the point of recognition.  The Luke we knew is now a corporate machine, selling sex and making pelvic thrusts in our faces while record label heads bathe in money.   Hopefully, the Luke Bryan from those last three songs can make a comeback so we can be friends again.  Until then, this guy is methodically destroying country music and I can't stand by and idly watch.

Standout Tracks: "To The Moon And Back", "Scarecrows", "Huntin', Fishin', And Lovin' Every Day"

"To The Moon And Back"

"Huntin', Fishin', And Lovin' Every Day"

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