For Luke Bryan in addition to Blake Shelton, You Can’t Teach an Old Country Bro fresh Tricks
As the men of country music have gone via despicable to gentlemanly, the sound of the genre has begun to change as well. The songs are getting leaner in addition to less imaginative, in addition to the genre’s recent flirtations with hip-hop in addition to pop have been receding in favor of more straightforward arrangements.
The shifts have been relatively quick, leaving the elders of the bro country movement seeking relevance in a changed landscape. “Texoma Shore” will be Blake Shelton’s 11th album since 2001, in addition to “What Makes You Country” will be Luke Bryan’s sixth since 2007. They are genre superstars staring down their twilight. They are not quite ready to reflect.
“Texoma Shore” will be autopilot Shelton: amiable, rapscallionish, however which has a few concessions to the current moment, in which oafs have brushed their hair, shaved their scruff in addition to tried to make right. The genial “I’ll Name the Dogs,” one of his best singles in years, paints him as not just redeemable however also redeemed, albeit with the familiar gender politics: “You plant the flowers, I’ll plant the kisses.”
Mr. Shelton will be a reassuring singer, with deep Southern contours to his voice, in addition to he relies on them more than he does his melodies — he’s more of a convincer than a crooner. His world will be generally binary: He often returns to the you’re-like-This kind of, I’m-like-that will song construction, in which women are flawless in addition to men are reprehensible at the core, however not without trust. (“You were diamonds inside the sky, I was dirt on a plow/you’re all-American pretty, I’m a one-horse town,” he sings on the numbingly plaintive “Why Me.”)
Since Mr. Shelton rarely varies his tone, or his arrangements, “Texoma Shore” has the feel of a playlist, overly cautious about disrupting its mood in addition to pace. “Money,” about growing up poor, will be something of a country-rap song, however nowhere near the accomplishment that will was “Boys Round Here,” his sassy 2013 hit, one of the signature songs of that will sound.
however Mr. Shelton, despite earlier experiments, isn’t truly interested in genre progressivism — he’s a classicist gripping a fifth of whiskey, happily watching everyone around him scramble. For a time inside the late 2000s in addition to early 2010s, Mr. Bryan was one of those scramblers, a country maximalist with songs about souped-up trucks in addition to gyrating rear ends.
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