Doin’ My Thing by Luke Bryan

Country traditionalists have wrung their hands over the past several years worrying that the genre is becoming hopelessly diluted by outside influences from pop, rock and even (gasp!) hip-hop. But if country is becoming more urbane musically, it’s headed in the opposite direction lyrically—modern mainstream radio is stuffed to bursting with songs about the old-fashioned virtues of country life and declarations of rural authenticity.

Luke Bryan’s 2007 debut, I’ll Stay Me, suffered especially acutely from an overabundance of country-boy anthems.

The follow-up certainly hits that angle, but also finds Luke edging carefully into other areas of interest: He shows a knack for convincingly delivering hymns to thwarted love like the first single, “Do I,” as well as lighthearted fare like “Chuggin’ Along” and the title cut.

Unfortunately, his well-sung version of OneRepublic’s pop chart-topper “Apologize” serves to demonstrate that while outside influences keep things interesting, not every song was meant to be country.

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