Luke Bryan is a grin made flesh. It’s not the aw-shucks grin of Florida Georgia Line, the sly-rascal grin of Blake Shelton, or even the victorious, everything’s-worked-out grin of Thomas Rhett but the carefree, unbothered grin of a man for whom things have always come just a little bit easy: family, recreation, success as he defines it, and of course love and sex. The country star’s actual life experience is naturally a lot more complicated, with more than his share of family tragedy, so the happy-go-lucky image he’s worked hard to cultivate on hits like “Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day,” “Play It Again,” and “Fast” makes for a fascinating separation of his public and private personas.
The breezy Born Here Live Here Die Here sticks not only to what the singer knows but to what country radio knows him to be. At just under 35 minutes, it’s Bryan’s shortest-ever album, and with little room (or inclination) for him to do anything that might mess up a good thing, he spins his wheels, all revved up with no place to go. With the title tacked clumsily onto the end of its wordy chorus like an afterthought, the kicky sway of “Knockin’ Boots” is a bedroom song with a PG filter. “Too Drunk To Drive” (on love, not liquor) rehashes 2011’s “Drunk On You.” Fishing features on at least three tracks.