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Tailgates & Tanlines (Album Cover)

After his 2007 debut album went by unnoticed, Luke Bryan had a breakthrough of sorts in 2009 with his sophomore disc ‘Doin’ My Thing’, which spawned hits “Do I”, “Rain Is A Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby”.

With his third studio set ‘Tailgates & Tanlines’, the 35-year-old Georgia native looks to break free of Nashville’s B-list and join country’s leading men at the top.

Summary Analysis

“Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”, the funky summer anthem kicks the set off on a strong note as he firmly displays a level of confidence that failed to surface within his first two studio albums.

For the most part, his third outing serves as a great showcase of a man that has continually worked to get better at his craft, but what is abundantly missing throughout the album’s thirteen cuts is an accurate balance between one another.

He pulls you in with the previously-mentioned “Country Girl”, yet surrounds it with ballads and mid-tempos like “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and the head-over-heels in love song “Drunk on You” to show off his engaging, although a little nasal, baritone.

On “Too Damn Young”, a Julie Roberts cover, he sings about the early stages of teenage love, while the second single “I Don’t Want This Night to End”, is a repetitive romance cut of meeting a girl and getting lost in each other’s eyes.

While he has improved, Bryan is still not an exceptional storyteller, but he is at his personal best on “You Don’t Know Jack”, the album’s ultimate highlight.

On the standout track, he poignantly tells and conveys empathy for a man that has watched his life deteriorate through his substance abuse, and he does it so convincingly that if this wasn’t one of five tracks Bryan didn’t co-write, you would think it was a personal account.

Other standouts on the set, which is executive produced by Jeff Stevens, include “I Know You’re Going to Be There”, “Been There, Done That”, and “I Knew You That Way”.

Among the album’s mishaps are songs about love lost (“Faded Away”), self-examination and thinking (“Tailgate Blues” and “Muckalee Creek Water”), and farmers (“Harvest Time”), and despite presenting some of the album’s personalized moments, neither of them linger.

Final Verdict

Fans of Luke Bryan will have no reason to complain about his third studio album ‘Tailgates & Tanlines’, given the set does arise as his best collection thus far and shows his growth, as well as, slight signs of him striving towards individually.

However, country music fans in general will have bigger gripes about the set and probably end each song thinking of someone who could have made it feel more authentic, but real skill comes with time and Bryan has improved by leaps and bounds since his debut.

3 OUT OF 5

Celebrity Bug’s Key Tracks
“Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”, “Drunk On You”, “You Don’t Know Jack”, “I Know You’re Going to Be There” and “Been There, Done That”.

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