Top critical review
'Kill The Lights' begins to kill the bro-country cycle.
December 3, 2016
Multi Platinum Bro-Country veteran Luke Bryan makes his return to the country scene with his fifth major record release 'Kill The Lights'. Recently, Bryan's music has been deeply criticized across the board for being repetitive of other bro-country efforts, and offering nothing new to the genre. During the height of 'That's My Kind of Night', artists such as Zac Brown publicly demeaned Bryan for his destructive use of cliche subjects, which created a whole controversy in itself. Is Bryan stuck in an unproductive bro-country phase, or is this his permanent genre? Bryan's 'Kill The Lights' gives us the answer.
Kick the Dust up is the quintessential redneck/ white trash-bro anthem. Fuelled by merry-go-round sounds and clashing buzzy guitars, the track tells the story of the essential bro-lifestyle. Lyrically and musically, there is nothing new here. If you can relate to it, you will probably find yourself blaring it in your jacked-up American truck while going to pick up your 'country girl' with the painted on jeans. Otherwise, it's an easy skip.
The title track is a new fuse of Country and old disco. It's definitely done in a Bryan style, but still has a new feel to it. Not a bad track, but it's obvious that the buzzy guitar sound is here to stay.
Strip it Down received massive airplay in the summer of 2015, then seemed to fade away quite appropriately. Not a bad track, but there aren't any hooks that want to make the listener purchase the track as a single or listen to it multiple times on repeat. A good track if it is relative, but it doesn't necessarily have the classic feel to it.
Home Alone Tonight incorporates a fuse of old and new Bryan. Powered by Bryan and Karen Fairchild, this track is bound to be a hit with the bros and 'country girls' alike. Musically, this is Bryan with a touch of experimentation. Noisy guitars are borderline overused, but work at this point. An overall catchy listen.
Razor Blade brings things back to old Bryan style-wise. Moments like this suggest Bryan is capable of singing about subjects beyond the party scene.
Fast shows a side of maturity that critics have been longing for ever since Bryan plagued the Country scene with "That's My Kind of Night". Lots of unnecessary noise in the track, but lyrically shows vast improvement from Bryan's frat-favored bro- tracks.
Move is a lively party anthem that is sure to be a hit at country dance clubs. Much like the opening track, there really isn't anything new here lyrically or musically. The track is catchy and gets you on your feet, but the thrill only lasts for so long.
Just Over is a middle ground track. Not bro-type, but certainly not classic. Nothing more to add, here.
Love it Gone throws things back to the "I'll Stay Me" days, while adding some maturity to the record. Not necessarily a track that would be single-worthy, but it certainly balances out the picture.
Way Way Back is a mixed track, and left me feeling as though Bryan was trying to pull off a traditional cut with only bro-material. There is an improvement to the musical style, but lyrics heavily allude to the white trash bro paradise. Catchy and enjoyable so long as you don't pay attention to the lyrics. Essential if you're a self-admitted bro.
To The Moon and Back is a curious ballad. The tempo is completely off from other tracks on the album. A personal track that is great if relatable, but otherwise a durge on the record.
Feast your ears, bro's. Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day is the stuff your most exciting dreams are made of! This track is predicable right down to the stereotypical lyrics, buzzy backroad sound, and throaty disproportionate guitar solo. Skip if you're a normal person who enjoys the music. Put on repeat for days if you are a bro or redneck.
Scarecrows is the best representation of Bryan's classic sound, despite the fact that it is lyrically bro-saturated. Musically, it is an appropriate way to end the album. My personal favorite from the selection.
In summary, Bryan may be stuck in a bro-phase, but 'Kill The Lights' certainly suggests that he is looking at the larger picture and working to migrate to something bigger. While still saturated in cliche, a serious improvement from his previous effort. 'Kill The Lights' is not Bryan's best work, but it will help him dig himself out of the bro-hole in the long run. Not quite 3 star worthy due to the numerous bro-flaws, but certainly an improvement from the 2-star 'Crash My Party' effort. 2.5 stars is awarded to 'Kill The Lights'.