Country music, you know it’s the real stuff if it’s from America – even more so if it’s from somewhere like Georgia or Nashville. Luke Bryan definitely has the first two features on his side, and is signed up to the label Capitol Nashville – so as far as I’m concerned that’s all three ticked off. Bryan takes advantage of the country that is in the soul of every Georgian in this, his fourth studio album, Crash My Party. The album sold 528,000 copies in its first week – which comes as no surprise with level of quality in the eclectic mix of songs that make up this release.
After releasing two studio albums and two EPs, Bryan won both Top New Solo Vocalist and Top New Artist in 2010, causing his country with a twist to begin to get the recognition it deserved. He then released the precursor to Crash My Party – Tailgates & Tanlines in 2011. In between these two albums he released his fourth EP and his first compilation album – building up a significant hype for this album. Upon its release, I’m sure it is safe to say that there was little to no disappointment from his fans. Bryan has created a musical patch quilt of quality original country songs – ranging massively in style – but all sticking to the high quality with which he always writes. He does this in a way that would satisfy not only listeners of country music, but also fans of other genres.
The album opens up with the insanely catchy That’s My Kind Of Night – which is in the middle of a genre triangle, of which the three points are pop; rock and country. This track is the kind that I could happily listen to before going on a night out, it’s got just enough of a party groove – which when combined with the catchy melody lines and oddly appealing but subtle banjo riffs make this song a real chart topper in my opinion.
The album’s title track, which is the third song in, Crash My Party – and the track before it, Beer in the Headlights – are classic sounding country-pop ballads. They’ve got everything that they need to slot in alongside the other songs of that style, big electric power chords; contemplative piano lines and choruses that emphasize the pop half of the pop-country feel.
The next three tracks, Roller Coaster; We Run This Town and Drink A Beer make you wonder if Bryan’s writing about the same person in more than one of these songs. The three tracks all hold the old country themes of remembering a girl who the singer is no longer with, causing trouble as teenagers and drinking beer. However, despite these similarities, there a many features which really separate these songs from each other. Roller Coaster is a drum and guitar based ballad; whilst We Run This Town is based around big melodic lines – be they from the guitar, piano or vocals; and Drink A Beer is a completely acoustic track, centred on big vocal harmonies and a simplistic guitar and percussion backing.
I See You, track number seven on the album, came as a surprise to me after the three ballads – opening with a heavy drum beat and electric guitar line which was then followed up with vocals that could almost be a completely different person to who was singing the rest of the album (but are just as well sung). I See You gives an interesting contrast between the feelings of the chorus and the verses, keeping you listening with 100% focus every time.
Throughout the rest of the album you get met with even more contrasting genres and vocal styles from Luke – varying from Goodbye Girl which is almost Hawaiian in places, to the classic country ballad with a hip hop drum beat Blood Brothers, to the classic rock sounding Out Like That, then back to the country again with Dirt Road Diary.
With an album of this quality available for purchase, I feel that anyone with a love for music would be doing themselves an injustice to not purchase and listen to this album – especially with such an eclectic mixture of genres blended so skilfully. If you’re a fan of country music, then you won’t be let down – but it would be unfair to just have this album suggested to country fans, I would seriously recommend this album to almost anyone.
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