Born Here Live Here Die Here
Luke Bryan is the epitome of an easygoing contemporary country superstar. He began his ascent as an amiable ambassador of rural identity in the late 2000s, a few years ahead of the format’s turn towards beat-driven production and hip-hop swagger, and adjusted to those trends so successfully that his gregarious party tunes ruled the country charts throughout the 2010s. Emerging on the other end of that run with his seventh studio album Born Here Live Here Die Here, Bryan’s easing into another transition. He still makes plenty of room for pop-informed bite in tracks like “What She Wants Tonight,” with its gleaming, night-on-the-town hook, “One Margarita,” with its breezy beachfront cadence and subtly metallic effects, and “Down to One,” whose romantic nostalgia is layered with icy synths and glassy guitar tones.
But he’s focused the set on slightly more seasoned vantage points and time-tested sounds, like a galloping, orchestrated, singer-songwriter-style reunion with an old love (“Where Are We Goin’”), a slice of Tex-Mex-tinged, wounded ’90s honky-tonk bravado (“Little Less Broken”), and a sentimental narrative of a kid coping with the loss of his fallen soldier father (“Build Me a Daddy”). During the title track, Bryan elevates a simple country sentiment that he's threaded through his work—finding meaning in small-town stability—to the level of grand gesture, swelling into the chorus’s creed: “Yeah, I’m gonna be proud to be right here.”