House and Home

Album Review: Luke Bryan, 'Crash My Party'

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 (Capitol Records)

It’s an invitation no Luke Bryan fan can turn down. Because new album “Crash My Party” wraps bits of pop, rock and dance around very contemporary country to create 13 songs that never outstay their welcome, no matter how many times you listen.

Coming on the heels of the phenomenon that was “Tailgates and Tanlines,” that’s no small feat. After all, how do you follow up a double-platinum album…that charted as the #2 country album of the year…featuring three consecutive platinum singles…plus winning Entertainer Of The Year at the Country Music Awards… and being called one of the Top 3 Country Artists of the year by Billboard?

For Luke Bryan, the answer was simple: go back into the studio. Because even after all the accolades of 2012, he was determined to keep the momentum going. Not only was he not resting on his laurels, in fact Bryan was aiming to make some changes. “This album has some songs that showcase a big voice and long notes  — and we’ve never done that before,” Bryan says, and the up-front vocals on tracks like “Beer In The Headlights,” “Blood Brothers” and Roller Coaster” are proof.

Lead single and title track “Crash My Party” also represents a change for Bryan, being his first to stay at #1 for weeks as well as going platinum. In addition to the song’s irresistible hook, it’s the sly play on words that make for such great ear candy. Shuffling “That’s My Kind Of Night” and singalong “Play It Again” keeps the fun going, while the strutting rock guitars of “I See You” and “Out Like That” kick the energy up a few notches.

But Bryan is careful to balance out the party vibe with more introspective tracks. “We Run This Town” is a yearning trip down memory lane to a not-so-long ago time of youth and freedom, while the down-tempo “Drink a Beer” — another of the album’s songs where the title is deliberately misleading — is a heartfelt ballad with fine harmonies and an emotional pull.

Then there’s “Dirt Road Diary.” Co-authored by Bryan, who says the song “wrote itself,” he revealed the irresistible track is his own story of life growing up in Georgia — and the perfect way to cap a collection that shows him growing into his role as country superstar.

Don’t wait to RSVP.