Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants, y’all!
Today, I’m going a little out of my element. I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about modern country, or country as a whole for that matter. I own exactly one country album, and aside from a few alt. country acts, I don’t run abreast of the genre that often. When I do, it’s on the Hot 100. This is the first time that I’ve written about it, but I see crossovers landing on the chart in the 30-80 range all the time. Mostly, these tend songs tend to be mid-tempo, self-congratulatory tunes with country-tastic titles like “Truck Yeah”, “Country Must Be Country Wide”,and “One More Drinkin’ Song” that might as well be called “Fuck Yeah, Country Music”. Despite being a constant presence, these things rarely crest high enough to qualify for Radio Rants, but Luke Bryan made it last week, so here we are.
“Drunk On You” is Bryan’s third single from his Tailgates & Tanlines album, and comes on the heels of “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “I Don’t Want This Night To End”. You can guess what each one’s about. “Drunk On You” continues Bryan’s lack of subtly, and fascination with females, so let’s see how he expresses it this time.
For a song that has “drunk” right there in the title, “Drunk On You” has some seriously sleepy instrumentation. The set-up is a standard four piece band with a mandolin thrown in for good measure; all in all, not a bad idea. The only problem is that the arrangement is uninspired: the drums keep a default “big sound” beat, the bass and mandolin don’t do anything special, and the electric guitar riffs that slide in and out of the song are immemorable, as is the guitar solo. Calling the guitar part “riffs” might give you the wrong idea; they’re more random clusters of notes the guitarist threw in for the sake of variety. Still doesn’t work, though. The production doesn’t do the song any favors, either; it’s pretty toothless, and doesn’t give any instrument real distinction. Musically, “Drunk On You” is lifeless. If this is gonna work, it’s gonna be Luke Bryan’s broad shoulders.
“The cotton wood fallin’ like snow in July” Ok, surprisingly good start…
“Sunset, riverside, four wheel drive and a tail light circle” Heading into cliches, keep it steady, Luke…
“Pour a little Crown in a Dixie cup/And get the party started” I know that this is like picking on a big name rap song for doing something predictable like rhyming “Louie” and “Gucci”, but this is still so cliche it hurts. Just promise me that Luke Bryan’s going to leave his tractor out of the song.
“Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom/Dancin’ on the tailgate in a full moon/That kind a thing makes a man go mhmm hmmm/You’re looking good in what’s left of those blue jeans/Drip of honey on the money maker gotta be/The best buzz I’m ever gonna find/I’m a little drunk on you/And high on summertime” Is that a…compliment? The song combines the leeriness “Country Girl” with the aw shucks earnestness of “I Don’t Want This Night To End” for an awkward come-on. Maybe he really is drunk.
“So let’s slip on out where it’s a little bit darker/And when it gets a little bit hotter“ I know most of you aren’t listening to the song right now, but he twists the bolded words around so they rhyme. It’s cringeworthy.
Plenty of country songs use booze as a launching point. Despite the title, “Drunk On You” isn’t one of them. True, it wouldn’t be that original if Bryan went into detail about what about this girl got him drunk, but there’s one throwaway line about homemade wine in the second verse, and that’s the only time alcohol gets mentioned besides the chorus. And there’s no metaphorical reference to being drunk, like, this girl doesn’t have him dizzy, slurring his speech, none of that. Drinking is mentioned in the title of the song, and never brought up again. I know it’s a nitpick, but it bugs me; it’d be like calling a song “Batman”, then talking about firefighters.
I wasn’t a country fan going in, and “Drunk On You” doesn’t do anything to change that. The lyrics are dull, the arrangement is lazy, and Bryan doesn’t bring anything to the table that Toby Keith or Eric Church or any other Good Looking Country Guy couldn’t muster. The song’s like drinking on a tired day: it just makes me sleepy and irritable.