Luke Bryan Lights up Country Music With Feel Good Album 'Born Here, Live Here, Die Here' (Review)

With 25 career No. 1 singles to date and more to come, there is no bigger name in the country music industry today than Luke Bryan. Kicking the dust up for more than a decade, the hip-shaking singer might be best known for his fun party anthems and dance moves in concert, but the Georgia native is actually one of the more adventurous country artists to date. Fusing up-tempo country rock with modern pop elements, Bryan has proved since his debut in 2006 that he's not only genuine in his sound but a force that continues to diversify the genre with a unique, refreshing range as heard in his seventh studio album, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here, out now.

Starting off the record with a fun and cheeky track, "Knockin' Boots" is refreshing and sweet as Bryan sets up the theme of the album with this feel-good, finger-snapping song that weaves in a brightened dose of summer fun. Following the tongue-in-cheek tune is the straight-shooting, slow-burn "What She Wants Tonight" that plays to the themes and vibes of 2015's Kill the Lights, finding Bryan singing about a femme fatale. It's a steamy and sexy song that shows a grand maturity to previous singles and tracks, and one that will surely be a favorite for fans among Bryan's catalog.

The third and titular track of his new record, "Born Here, Live Here, Die Here," is a song that Bryan previously said caught his ear "right away." As a portrait of the 44-year-old's country roots and life in small town Georgia, the nostalgic mid-tempo ballad honors the origins of everyday Americana, hitting the mark with the texture of his voice thanks to sincere songwriting from Jameson Rodgers, Josh Thompson and Jake Mitchell.

BORN HERE LIVE HERE DIE HERE - COVER Jim Wright
(Photo: Jim Wright / UMG Music)

While Bryan might have retired from the spring break party scene with Spring Break… Checkin' Out in 2015, his fourth track "One Margarita" is throwing it back to that exact party scene, serving up a renewed dose of summer heat with the fun, guitar-heavy bubbly track. Evoking memories of sandy beaches and tropical sunshine, the bouncy song is sheer grooviness, punctuated gently with an array of instruments like a soft mandolin, dashes of a Hammond organ, and thumping drums that accentuate that charm of a beach scene.

Taking fans back to the summer of 2011 and 2013 with his albums, Tailgates & Tanlines and Crash My Party, the record's fifth track, "Too Drunk To Drive" feels like a nice addition to the romantic, delirious collection of drinking in the car songs — but with a twist. Written by Bryan, Michael Carter and Brandon Kinney, the melody and lyrics seamlessly blend for a starry-eyed track that on the surface recognize inebriation but is actually about a guy being heavily intoxicated by the charisma of a woman.

"Build Me a Daddy," the album's sixth track is one that paints a heartbreaking picture through tender storytelling and will surely melt your hearts. Slowing the record down a bit, the poignant ballad evokes themes of grief and loss, and is the kind of tune Bryan does so genuinely well with his charming register. With a lonesome guitar accentuated by smooth vocals, the track is one that needs to be heard by all and exemplary classic country music, highlighting Bryan's voice effortlessly, further proving there is nothing he cannot sing.

From this point on, the album starts to take a bit of a turn with Bryan experimenting with those country roots in the seventh track, "Little Less Broken," a gorgeous midtempo song reminiscent of nostalgic '90s country. It's fresh and clean, and a sweet country-sounding track blending modern elements with his signature vocals. As a light, airy and incredibly confident tune with percussive hooks, this one hits on those sentimental country qualities perfectly.

Bryan's eighth track, "For a Boat," might seem like another song about a boat, but it's got a lot more in common with the title track thanks to its robust, thematic elements. Accentuated by a complementary mix of instruments to amplify its sound, the sweet ode between a father and son follows the simplicity of life and beauty in living humbly. In some ways, it feels like Bryan is singing from a freeze-frame of his childhood, reminding us of the warmth and love he felt on a sunny day.

This country wistfulness is tied up most lovingly with the refreshing midtempo, "Where Are We Goin,'" which blends Bryan's distinct twang with soft, delicate backing vocals from Chancie Neal in a song that touches on breezy, country vibes. While the penultimate track is not typical of his usual sound, it's a welcomed song sparking bluegrass notes through the use of warm guitar chords, highlighting the depth of his voice and range.

Lastly, "Down to One" is a song that is a cheery addition to the album's vibe and a nice bookend to the record through its varied themes and sounds. Reminiscent of tracks played out in 2015's Kill the Lights, it's a number Bryan can sing in his sleep. It's catchy, fun and has Bryan leveling up by blending country elements with sharp and crisp electronic sounds, steady backbeats and keyboards for a song that also feels like an '80s classic.

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(Photo: Jim Wright / UMG Music)

Among seven albums, 25 No. 1 singles, more RIAA certified digital singles than any other artist, a plethora of headlining tours and judge on ABC's hit, American Idol, Bryan has made his definitive stamp on country music. Thanks to a fun-loving charm and maturity when it comes to the industry, he proves he's more than just a solid player in the genre. With 13 billion streams, more than 12.4 million albums sold, and a number of platinum honors, Bryan is a bonafide country star. Not to mention, he concluded 2019 with the honor of "Most Heard Artist of the Decade," and for a good reason.

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As a distinct artist who knows his style, formula and core base, Bryan brings excitement to the genre with each record — notably with his new release, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here, embracing a very confident, amiable and playful brand of country music. Accentuating the magnetism and romance of the beloved genre through his seventh LP, the country superstar truly excels as he takes us back to his dirt-road roots on a diverse, accelerative record. Born Here, Live Here, Die Here is the perfect country record for your summer, and one you'll likely want to "play it again, play it again, play it again."

Luke Bryan's Born Here, Live Here, Die Here is now available to purchase and stream on verified networks. Head to his official website for links and where to get your copy of the record. For the latest on Bryan and all your favorite country stars, keep it locked to PopCulture.com for more!