There’s nothing wrong with writing or cutting songs that may not directly relate to your life, if it comes from the right place, and that place is meaningful – for example, look at Kip Moore’s “Hey Pretty Girl,” and the story behind that song. Kip wrote the song after seeing his close friend and former guitar player Dave Lapsley have a child. He admitted he wanted to get to that point in his life as well, and put pen to paper to create something special.
There are many artists that abstain from alcohol, yet try to get radio hits by singing about partying, checking off all the buzzwords. There’s no soul in that, just a Nashville machine chasing the money.
Then there’s Luke Bryan. A mega-star. A guy selling out stadiums. He’s 43 years old, and still singing songs with clubby laser light videos straight out of 2011’s “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” playbook.
Luke is a really nice guy. He’s a family man. He does have talent. He could easily make the choice to consistently release solid country music with substance (I stress “consistently,” because Luke will give you a gem like “Most People Are Good” but then revert back to singles like this).
Speaking of 2011, the Tailgates & Tanlines album had a song on it called “Tailgate Blues” (written by Brent Cobb and Neil Medley) that would be a #1 for Luke to this day in the blink of an eye, yet, we get more of the same…
“I have wanted to get together with this group of writers (Ross Copperman, Hillary Lindsey and Jon Nite) for a long time,” Luke said. “We came up with some really infectious hooks for this song ‘What She Wants Tonight’ and I think women listeners are going to like that the girl in the song controls the dynamic of the situation. I’ve been wanting to get a big rocking tempo out for some time and this is certainly it.”
Yes, it will do well on radio. Yes, his primary fan base will enjoy it. Yes, it makes you cringe because you know he could do so much better.
Many mainstream country outlets will call this song “sexy,” but I’ll just call it for what it is…bad.
It’s time to move on to the next phase, Luke. Bring back the sound and substance from the early days many fans crave.