Story by Nick Erickson, Contributing writer
It is inevitable that once a light is left on for long enough, it will burn out. The irony of this statement is prevalent with the title of Luke Bryan’s fifth album, “Kill the Lights.” After five consecutive albums, there is little sign of progression in Bryan’s musical endeavors and there is a lack of substantial content to be found anywhere in the album.
Bryan is arguably the biggest name in country this year. However, this record is vastly different than what most would consider “true country.” “Kill The Lights” is the same approach Taylor Swift took with her most recent album, “1989.” The familiar, often melancholy strumming of an acoustic guitar takes the backseat to synthesized drumbeats and bass lines.
Vocally and lyrically, this album has very few strongpoints. Bryan’s lyric writing mainly consists of simple rhymes and plenty of repetition so most listeners can follow along and sing after just one listen. Lyric content consists of a lot of rather silly and immature subject matter, which is not appealing to many. For example, in “Home Alone Tonight,” which is a duet with Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, the two sing of texting their respective exes for payback after a night in a bar.
“So put your drink down and throw your camera up,
flip it around and snap a payback picture.
Send it to my ex, I’ll send it to my ex and send ‘em both a text.
Saying we ain’t, we ain’t going home alone tonight.
Girl you ain’t gotta, I ain’t gotta go home alone tonight.”
Bryan has a voice, which while soothing to some, is rather emotionless and almost robotic in most tracks. It is on the softer, more heartfelt tracks on the album where his voice conveys slightly more of an emotional edge to it.
The sensuous ballad, “Strip It Down,” is without a doubt the biggest standout track from the album, although it’s still nothing really special. It has managed to gather more than 10 million hits on YouTube. Backed with a simple, yet effectively calming piano melody, along with a steady drum pulse, it’s relaxing. However, it’s simply not good enough to hold its weight. There isn’t much setting this song apart from the rest on this album besides its slightly gentler tone and sugarcoated chorus.
The production on this album makes it feel like all of the instruments could have been computerized and Bryan’s vocals could have been edited to the point where they sound almost “too perfect.”
These songs feels like they’ve been done before in a 100 different ways by a 100 different country artists, all with the typical four-chord progression and rather monotonous singing coated in a thick, Southern accent.
It’s just difficult to truly enjoy listening to the entire album after the songs start to blend into one another.
This album is one that is sure to appeal to many people across campus and across this part of the country in general. That said, the songs featured on this album could be adequate for listening to with some friends on a Saturday night riding around, or for background ambiance while cleaning the sink, but it’s just not an album someone would want to listen to for some really deep meaning and connection to the music.
For those looking for an album not so over-produced, with some lyric topics and instrumentation putting higher ground for the country genre, keep searching and steer clear of “Kill the Lights.”