Zac Brown vs Luke Bryan

On August 5th, Luke Bryan released his latest single, That’s My Kind of Night. Since then the track has risen up the country charts, currently sitting at number 6 on the American Country Countdown. Despite its chart success, the song has been publicly slated, most notably by Zac Brown, of the Zac Brown Band. During an interview Brown claimed that it was the ‘worst song’ that he had ever heard, and even went as far to say that it made him ‘ashamed’ of country radio.

The backlash form these comments has been immense. Dallas Davidson, one of the songwriters, has responded, and was quite clearly hurt by the remarks. Other artists have sprung to Luke Bryan’s defence, including Jason Aldean. However, Zac Brown did state that he was a fan of Luke Bryan, just not the song. It may not have been appropriate for Zac Brown to speak so disparagingly of a fellow country music star, he could have made his point without naming names, but perhaps we should take notice of what Brown had to say.

“I see it being giant commercially, successful within what is called country music these days, but I also feel like that the people deserve something better than that.” Zac Brown was right, the song is doing well on the charts, but do a country audience deserve better? The song sounds good: the band have perfected their own country crossover blend, and Luke Bryan’s vocal is strong. However, the song falls down lyrically. Apart from hinting at sexism, it contains the lyric ‘out where the corn rows grow, row, row my boat.’ So perhaps, on a lyrical level, at least, Zac Brown has a point. (Read a full review of the track here)

A songwriter friend from Nashville once told me that ‘if a song doesn’t make you want to laugh, cry, or dance, there ain’t much use in writing it.’ This song’s purpose is as a country dance track, and also brings in Luke Bryan’s goofy humour. Nevertheless, this is far from the best example of this new country style. The lyrics are to be taken at face value, there is nothing special about these words. Perhaps Zac Brown should not have so publicly slated Bryan’s song. Luke Bryan is a talented artist, but this is not his best single. It may well reach the top of the charts, but it has very little promise of longevity.

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