By Aaron Wagner
Luke Bryan has cemented himself as a country music superstar and icon. With 27 #1 singles and a collection of CMA and ACM awards, he’s clearly been one of the star artists of the last decade.
People will criticize Luke for helping usher in the “bro-country” sound and going away from the sound he had on his first album I’ll Stay Me. It worked for him though as he grew his audience and influence, while bringing new fans to country music.
That being said, if you were a fan of Luke’s first album and the music he was making when he first burst on to the scene, you’re going to really enjoy his new album Born Here Live Here Die Here. And if you’ve been a fan of Luke’s recent music, you’re still going to love the new stuff.
Luke included #1 hits from 2019 “Knockin’ Boots” and “What She Wants Tonight” on this album as he needed a place to put them. His most recent #1 single and summer-drinking jam “One Margarita” is the album’s signature song. While I was skeptical after the first few listens months ago, I’m now all in on the song actually being one of Luke’s biggest songs.
The title track “Born Here Live Here Die Here” is the theme of this project in more than just a name as it has Luke reaching back to his roots and re-realizing who he is as an artists and man.
“Build Me a Daddy” isn’t going to be a radio single but man is it a helluva song that will hit you right in the feels. Luke’s delivery is so authentic in this emotional tune. “Too Drunk To Drive” is the opposite of the assumed party anthem, rather Luke sings about being drunk on love. It’s a clever concept.
We get a 90s country vibe from Luke on “Little Less Broken.” It seems so different than we’re use to from him, but the thing is he’s really good in that sound that he was influenced by growing up. Then there’s “Where Are We Going”, a smooth, youthful, falling in love at first sight song that is such a rich country sound that fits in modern country but isn’t the hip-hop sounds that have become a fixture in FGL, Sam Hunt, and some of Luke’s songs.
My two favorite songs on this album are “For a Boat” and “Down to One.”
“For a Boat” is a sweet song that tells the story of a special bond between a dedicated father and ambitious son that now realizes the sacrifices his dad made for him. “Down to One” is the last song on the album and it’s the perfect song to wrap up the project. It has major single potential as it’s about that young, summer love that disappears once the temps drop and school starts up again.
With three #1s already coming from this album I’m curious to see which other songs he sends to radio. But more importantly, Luke went back to his roots and reminded people (and hopefully himself) that he can absolutely sing these type of songs. I’d even argue, this is his strong suit and completely in his wheelhouse.
If these are the types of songs we get from Luke over the next 10-20 years, we’re going to be really spoiled.