Tunes of the Time: Spring Break and Country Pop

By Hanna Duenkel

Spring Break…Checkin’ Out by Luke Bryan

If you haven’t already checked out Luke Bryan’s final spring break themed album, Spring Break…Checkin’ Out, then you’re missing out.  While Spring Break…Checkin’ Out is not my favorite album of Bryan’s (2014’s Crash My Party currently holds that title), Checkin’ Out brings back the old, twangy Luke that we all fell in love with years ago in his “All My Friends Say” and “Rain Is A Good Thing” days.  The new album incorporates Bryan’s base of strong vocals and a minimal use of percussion instruments while adding a few electric guitars and a synthesizer or two to give it a modern, pop feel.  Since the album was released on March 10th, Bryan spent most of early March performing songs from Checkin’ Out and promoting it during various spring break parties and festivals.  The album features songs that are already blasting over the airwaves of many national country music stations, as well as at spring break parties, with songs like “Spring Break Down.”  Checkin’ Out also has diamonds in the rough that will emerge this summer, such as “Night One” and “My Ol’ Bronco.”  Each song in the album has a distinct feel that does not blend with the others, which helps you remember the lyrics from the album.  This is definitely going to be one of my most played albums going into the summer season. If you liked this, you should try and listen to Riser by Dierks Bentley because of the similar overall styles.  Riser also features most of the songs on Bentley’s current tour setlist, which would help you find your new favorite country singer and coordinate your next concert.

“Turn It On” by the Eli Young Band

The Eli Young Band is always a good band to fall back on when you want to listen to a good, thought-through country love song, which is why I explored their recent EP “Turn It On.”  With the Eli Young Band, there’s always a soft love song that becomes stuck in your head for what seems like forever, until the next one comes out; which was what I had imagined that “Turn It On” would be like.  What I wasn’t expecting was how different their sound has become, evolving from the soft instrumentals of their hits “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” to their loud lyrics and blaring electric guitars in “Turn it On,” “Plastic,” “Your Place Or Mine,” and “Drink You Up.”  Overall, their sound has a much more synthetic feel than it originally did in previous works, but it blends in nicely to the current stage of country.  Country music is still filled with trademark songs about dirt roads, heartbreak, partying, and pickup trucks, but now it has “modernized” into a subgenre of pop.  The EP still has its typical acoustic guitar riffs and moments of slow, dreamy lyrics, which draws the original fans of the band to the new creations, but it attracts a younger, rowdier crowd.  My favorite song from the EP, “Turn It On,” is currently stuck in my head because of its fast paced beat and it’s mixture of slow lyrics and a rushed chorus.  If you liked “Turn It On,” then check out the songs “Days of Gold,” “Summer Jam,” “The One That Got Away,” and “Anywhere With You” by Jake Owen.  If you’re a country music regular, then you’ve probably heard of all of these, but they’re classics that are still played on nice days or as filler songs on the radio.