Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Luke Combs has taken the world by storm. Topping charts, and featured on a plethora of playlists, Combs is dominating the country genre. And even if you don’t dabble in the genre, you're destined to hear one of his top hits even if it’s just in the grocery store. This 30 year old superstar is hitting career milestones already, with all five of his The Prequel charted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Top 25 - feat not accomplished since Johnny Cash in 1959. So, I guess you can say he has some credibility. But it’s not chiefly his music that is breaking records, it’s his persona that’s breaking molds. Combs is an underdog. A burly, bearded, flannel wearing man. A regular old Joe Schmo who doesn’t care about his image or isn’t fathomed by the idea of fame. And that lack of manicured personality is what has been resonating with audiences.
What You See Is What You Get is Luke Combs second studio album, with cameos of other country mega stars; Eric Church and Brooks & Dunn. There is nothing unconventional about this album. Singing about notorious country classics; fishing, beer, trucks and tractors, the lyricism remains vanilla. The record starts off with a bro-anthem “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” which comes in loud and heavy with just enough twang from Combs bellowing pipes to satisfy your country tastebuds. His more charming side is underlined in tracks like, “Refrigerator Door,” “Reasons,” and “Even Though I’m Leaving.” But then this 90’s influenced singer-songwriter returns to his roots with line dancing, honky-tonking tracks like “Lovin’ On You,” and “Angels Workin’ Overtime.” In his hit “1,2 Many,” the guitar is not the only thing he’s chugging. This is a song about chugging Miller Lite’s and singing karaoke in a dive bar, “By half-past-ten, I’m half past tipsy/At quarter-to-twelve, man, I done had plenty/ The countdown’s on when the first beer hits me/ 5-4-3-2-1 too many.” I’m truly failing to see the allure that has gotten this track so much air-time. It’s catchy, of course, but there’s really no meat to the track. Although I believe Combs has gained some redemption of his musical abilities in his tracks, “Dear Today,” “Nothing Like You,” and “Better Together.” With the rest of the record being slightly overproduced, Combs’ vocal talent can be seen in these tracks. These tracks all begin with vocals and guitar, simple singer-songwriter stuff that is so pure, humble and honest. “Better Together,” the last track of the album is an unexpected and stripped-down track with Combs and piano accompaniment. This is where Combs shines.
Luke Combs has talent, he can sing, play guitar, and his team clearly knows how to craft a hit; 5-4-3-2-1, too many of them. While the subject of many of his songs remain cliché and redundant, his lyrics are clever. His nonchalant image is attracting concertgoers, and can be exemplified in his album cover. This album art looks like my kindergarten artwork that didn’t even make it to the “refrigerator door.”
LONG STORY SHORT: Country music is like avocados. You either love it, or absolutely hate it. This record is something to mumble along to while you’re drinking, this record will not change your life. But Luke Combs seems cool. I’d grab a beer with him.