There is no bigger name in the country music industry today than reigning Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan. The 39 year-old Georgia native celebrated his 13th No. 1 hit last week when the debut single “Kick The Dust Up” from his fifth-studio album, Kill The Lights topped country radio airplay charts.
Releasing last Friday, Kill The Lights trails 2013’s stellar record Crash My Party, which debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 Albums and Country Albums charts. Becoming the third best-selling album of 2013, Bryan’s fourth studio album sold nearly 2.5 million copies and produced six No. 1 singles—four of which sold at least 1 million copies and are now certified platinum. Since his debut in 2007 with I’ll Stay Me, Bryan has not only skyrocketed to the top of Nashville’s most successful performers by delivering No. 1 hits and filling stadiums year-after-year, but is recognized as one of the country music industry’s most respectable power players.
Throughout his rise to headliner status, Bryan was one of the more adventurous country artists to fuse a cliché dirt-road-country track with modern pop elements in hopes to reach larger audiences. While the combination of hip-hop, rock, pop, and electronic music to old-school country has triggered dislike and a “civil war” of sorts among critics, journalists, and fellow industry artists, the “bro-country” sub-genre that Bryan so spotlessly delivers is continuing to thrive thanks to its growing popularity with millennials. As music evolves in various genres over the years, it’s implied (and inevitable) that such a progression will move into the country category as well.
While Kill The Lights might allude to Bryan shying away from country music and diving headfirst into pop, there are strong, country-sounding elements present in this new record.