‘Play It Again’, the fourth single from Luke Bryan’s fourth studio album ‘Crash My Party’, is sadly not as good as his previous single ‘Drink A Beer’. After becoming known as one of the key perpetrators of the ugly phenomenon known as “bro-country”, songs ‘Crash My Party’ and ‘That’s My Kind of Night’ set the precedent for the album, which is chock full of clichéd laundry-list truck tracks that have no differentiation between each other and redeeming musical qualities either. ‘Drink A Beer’ was different in that it was actually heartfelt and had some substance (it was a gentle ballad about the coping mechanisms following the discovery of a loved one’s passing), but ‘Play It Again’ returns to the age-old narrative of getting drunk with a hot girl. ‘Cause obviously that’s all working people do these days.
Peppered with electronic devices such as synths and a drum machine, it has a decidedly pop/R&B feel (though remembers to include some electric guitars just to “assure you” of its countryness) and lives in the generic, complete with repetitive cyclical melody, major key (plus minor chords for “suspense”) and a compressed banjo very low in the mix. The choruses, full production guitars/drums and belted vocals, do nothing to make ‘Play It Again’ sound any different from any other songs on the album, or any other songs on the radio, for that matter. It’s not distinctive, it’s just boring.
Lyrically it tries to move away from the exact same storyline, but still retains the same setting; in fact “pour a little sugar in her Dixie cup” is a line repeated oft throughout Luke’s music and it again appears here. Upon actually Googling the proper definition for such a phrase Urban Dictionary gave me the rather disturbing result that it involves a man “expelling” into a woman’s hand, for her to drink. Yeah. All the more sinister now, isn’t it? Excuse me while I got vomit.
Right, I’m back. Aside from that mentally scarring picture (I’ll never forget this, ever), the lyrics are mundane but startlingly poorly written. Of course, those who criticize bro-country would not be so surprised, but actually they shirk the typical lines for a simplistic narrative that a 5-year-old could have written. “And she was like oh my God, this is my song, I’ve been listening to the radio all day long, sitting round waiting for it to come on, and here it is”. Well stop everything everyone, no-one needs to write anything more ever. We have the winner of music. And culture too (that’s the lyrics to the chorus by the way – yeah really). Honestly, I wrote better stuff when I was a kid, and true, writing has always been my strength and something I’ve studied, but you’d kind of expect that of people who are professional songwriters. You’d think.
I have nothing more to say about such atrocities that Luke Bryan seems to have no problem inflicting on his poor fans (who are desperate to love it because they want to f*ck him), so I’ll just sit here and put up with it while it soars to #1 and then we can stop going on about it please.