Luke Bryan continues his surging play for the country big leagues with Crash My Party. His fourth album moved a whopping 528,000 units in its first week—which is a lot in age of Pandora and Spotify. Those numbers suggest that Bryan’s growing fan base can’t get enough of his brand of rock-infused, country-crooner-approved misadventures about tailgate-sittin’, tanline-oglin’, beer drinkin’, backwoods partyin’ … oh, and quite a lot of truck-bed misbehavin’, too.
Nestled among the fermented-hops salutes found on “Drink a Beer” is this spiritually tinged reflection on a friend’s untimely death: “Funny how the good ones go/Too soon, but the good Lord knows/The reasons why, I guess/Sometimes a greater plan/Is kinda hard to understand/Right now it don’t make sense.” Bryan also alludes to an afterlife reunion when he sings, “So long, my friend/Until we meet again/I’ll remember you.”
“Dirt Road Diary” fondly recalls a young boy’s time spent with his father on the farm. Likewise, “Blood Brothers” reminisces, Three Musketeers-style, about a band of young friends and the powerful bond that cemented together (“We were as young as we were dumb/When we piled in an old pile of junk/It was one-for-all and all for one/ … Blood brothers/Closer that your next of kin/Thick as thieves and the best of friends/Take a bullet for each other/Yeah, brothers like that don’t come cheap”).
“Roller Coaster” notices a woman wearing “a cross around her neck.”
Unfortunately, that symbol of faith doesn’t keep her from having “Bacardi on her lips” when she uses them to trigger a week-long summer affair that ends abruptly and leaves Bryan longing for more (“She’s like a song playin’ over and over/In my mind, where I still hold her”). He bounces right back though, apparently, since just about every other song on this release chronicles summer lovin’ of one kind or another, often paired with booze, his truck’s always-ready bed in back and young women whom, it seems, never have second thoughts about ending “upside down” there.
Indeed, album opener “That’s My Kind of Night” manages to work all those elements into the mix with, “I got that real good, feel-good stuff/Up under the seat of my big, black, jacked-up-truck/Rollin’ on 35s, pretty girl by my side.” After complimenting her “suntan, skirt and boots,” Bryan suggests she should “look my way and scoot/Your little hot self over here.” And while she’s at it, “Girl, hand me another beer, yeah.” Catfishin’ is just a prelude to riverside sex (“Gonna sound like a winner when I lay you down and love you right”) as well as skinny-dipping (“You can hang your T-shirt on a limb/Hit that bank, and we can ease on in/ … You know what I like”).
Another round of drinkin’ and lovin’ shows up on “Beer in the Headlights.” And it quickly becomes apparent that drinking, in one form or another, turns up on more tracks than not. “Run This Town” finds Bryan reminiscing about all manner of teenage antics, including drinking and partying. And more underage shenanigans get saluted on “Dirt Road Diary.” “Drink a Beer” involves a grieving man’s choice to remember his friend by sippin’ a brew on a pier. “I See You” has a man’s friends trying to get him drunk at a bar to take the edge off a tough breakup (with a girl he, of course, had lots of torrid, back-of-the-truck sex).
“Out Like That” and “Shut It Down” comingle vehicles and sensuality, with both of them overly romanticizing sexuality and only one of them involving a married couple.
Luke Bryan has no problem whatsoever appropriating and flat-out owning all the ideas and images that make country music the butt of jokes told by critics who dismiss the genre as simplistic and clichéd. Most of the time, those clichés involve beer, a willing woman and a truck—and sometimes all three at once. In Bryan’s lyrical world, it seems, a good ol’ boy can never—ever—get enough of those things.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.