May 23, 2020

Archives: A Real Track By Track Review of Luke Bryan's Tailgates and Tanlines


I know this album's been out a while, but after 3 putrid singles, I wanted to go back and give a listen and see how the rest of this album stacks up to the feces Luke Bryan has been pooping out to the radio waves.

1. Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
One of the most awesomely terrible songs released to country radio in the last… no, ever. It doesn't deserve any more words.

2. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
A song about goodbye sex. "Take off your leaving dress"… is a leaving dress something you can buy at Penney's? I'm just asking. As a country power ballad goes, I guess this isn't horrible, but I'd still go with a paper cut over listening to it again.

3. Drunk on You
The much maligned "boom-boom" song. So, is it as bad as generally thought? Well, the melody is pretty nice and the opening line is killer. But beyond that, yes, it's that bad - it's an embarrassing pile of rancid, maggot-infested garbage. Now that country singers have found a way to get all their laundry list of country touchstones into love songs, shouldn't pop country eat itself? This kind of song makes a man go "mmm mmm" (with his head shaking side to side and a frown upon his visage).

4. Too Damn Young
Oh, is this a Garth Brooks cover? No? Damn. It's just yet another song about teenagers doing it in the water. Tanlines mentioned? Check. Heartstring-pulling b.s. to make soccer moms look back wistfully on their senior summers? Check. I guess this sounds okay, but it brings nothing new and says nothing old in a new way.

5. I Don't Want This Night To End
Just another perfectly proportioned hit vehicle carefully created in a clandestine Nashville laboratory. My 5-year-old daughter likes this song. She also likes Caillou, Barbie mermaid movies and Glee songs, so maybe we shouldn't use her as a standard for good taste (though I love her dearly). "You got your hands up/you're rockin' in my truck"…has this scenario ever played out for any guys out there? How can you put your hands up? I mean, the roof isn't very high. Is she rocking to Aldean or Gilbert? Actually, who gives a damn?

7. You Don't Know Jack
One of the weakest drinking songs I've heard in some time, and that's saying something because "Red Solo Cup" was on the charts just a month or two ago. It sounds like somebody was trying to be deep here, but the silly title line trivializes any good intentions they had. Also, there's way too much weight put on kindergarten-ish lines like "double shot/80 proof on the rocks." If this dissuades a man from doing his wife wrong and ending up as one of Jack's best buddies, I'm Jim Beam.

8. Harvest Time
This sounds pretty good. It's a simplistic exploration of farming, but there's nothing too egregious here. It's reminiscent of one of Jason Aldean's better tunes "Amarillo Sky," but that's neither here nor there. Nothing I've heard on this album so far has lived up to any of the potential for interpretation I think Bryan showed earlier in his career, and this is no exception. His reading comes off a big generic. Still, not a bad song at all.

8. I Know You're Gonna Be There
I'm forgetting this song as I'm listening to it. It's such a fluff piece, it's fading as it plays. Nothing memorable whatsoever. I'm not even interested enough to pay attention, honestly. Probably shouldn't have made the album, and it's a terrible album.

9. Muckalee Creek Water
Um, okay I guess. There's some imagery here that's pretty nice. It has a fairly decent swamp groove. Still, there are a few negatives. What's with his preoccupation with onomatopoeia? Boom boom on other songs, bump bump on this one. It's childish and very irritating. I have to hear repetitious, annoying stuff like that from my kids all the time; I don't want to hear it in a song. And what's with all the singers claiming they drink moonshine? Right, I'm sure you hit the white lightening all the time Luke. Also, the bridge sucks and takes the air out of this one big time. This song had some promise, but I'd be lying if I said I'd listen to it again.

10. Tailgate Blues
This is actually kinda cool. If the production weren't so perfect, this could be a great song. As it stands, it's still surprisingly good. Great melody, nice harmonies from Ashton Shepherd, not too many cliches, lonesome atmosphere. I like it.

11. Been There, Done That
The title tells you all you need to know. See review of track 8.

12. Faded Away
Reminiscing song about trucks, balconies and spring break. Making love as waves roll in. Tans and names in the sand. It wants to be an update of Kenny Chesney's "Anything But Mine" (which is a guilty pleasure of mine), but it falls far short because Chesney's Spring Break song was far stronger on imagery and longing. This will speak to 15-19 year old girls and maybe a few moms with less discerning tastes, but that's about it.

13. I Knew You That Way
Probably Bryan's best vocal performance on the album. A pretty understated song without too many things that rub me wrong. Still, not particularly noteworthy. 

Album Average:

That rates as an F on any scale. Luke, you used to not suck (too bad). What happened???

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