SINGLE REVIEW: Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up”

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Artist: Luke Bryan
Song: “Kick The Dust Up”
Album: Kill The Lights

Two years after crashing the bro country party with an album chock full of future hit singles, Luke Bryan has kicked off the promotion for his latest release with an incredibly underwhelming ode to farm town parties.

“Kick The Dust Up” is the kind of song that wants to remind you of a time when country music was actually inspired by cornfields, dirt roads, and late nights spent with the farmer’s daughter, getting drunk alongside your best friends. If that is all you want from your music — and that does appear to be the case for many genre fans today — then that may be enough to put a smile on your face. When considered as the latest offering from a tenured artist who has long proven himself capable of writing far better material, however, it’s just not up to snuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Luke Bryan. Hell, some nights I even love him. Like many of you I have drunkenly danced around my living room and local country fairgrounds while blaring tracks like “Play It Again,” “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” and “Country Man,” the latter of which Bryan claims to believe his latest is reminiscent of. I can appreciate the similarities between the lyrics, as each touch on small town life, but there is a heart and soul to “Country Man” that is nowhere to be found in the overproduced, gentrified-for-radio sound of “Kick The Dust Up.” Where those older songs feel born out of true passion for the story being told, “Kick” feels like a product of the time. Country fans demand more drinking songs – so much so, it seems, that an entire generation of radio stars has been born out of the need to facilitate the party needs of modern country music fans. Bryan wasn’t always a part of that scene, but Crash My Party found him crossing over and finding even more success as a result.

With that in mind I guess it stands to reason why “Kick The Dust Up” sounds the way it does, as its existence is proof Bryan lives to give his fans what he feels they want to hear. He even told Rolling Stone as much, citing a desire to give fans something familiar before sharing the supposed new ground he explores on his upcoming album, but that also seems to show a lack of confidence in his fans’ willingness to accept something new. Nothing in Bryan’s history would back up this statement, yet he seems afraid to abandon the sound that has sent him into the country music stratosphere, and it’s apparent in every line of this contrived party anthem. There is nothing to this story Bryan hasn’t presented before, and its mid-tempo pace makes its familiarity all the more apparent. If you have heard one song like this before, you’ve heard them all.

The one redeeming quality of “Kick The Dust Up” is an Egyptian-tinged guitar melody that serves as the backbone for the entire affair. It’s the kind of instantly memorable ear worm many artists spend their lives trying to create, but its catchiness is quickly undone by everything else that follows. It’s as if Bryan heard that lick, knew it would be a hit, then spent five minutes completing the rest of the song. Those two bars may be nice, but they’re not so nice that you overlook the rest of the material, and thinking otherwise seems to be where Bryan may have went wrong with this single.

I have all the faith in the world that Luke Bryan will deliver something impressive and altogether memorable with his new album, but “Kick The Dust Up” is a rare misfire that does little, if anything, to propel country or Bryan’s career forward. It’s spinning the tires of a trendy sound that has already started to lose steam, and while I have no doubt it will find success at radio, it will be indiscernible from most, if not all, of its direct competition. Luke Bryan is capable of better material than this, and his fans deserve the best he can offer. Let’s hope the rest of Kill The Lights delivers just that.

Written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Cilla

    Thank you..I agree with you about “Kick Up the Dust “. It offers Nothing new. Luke Bryan could really have done better if he would look beyond his own backyard for his songs. (SAME SONGWRITER). Hope he has better material for the new CD.

  • HaulixJames

    Agreed, Cilla. He’s capable of so much and he seems to be settling for the most obvious, contrived material he can create. It’s just disappointing.

  • Cilla

    Just yesterday I was wondering how this song came about…This morning I found the answer. The website “Country California” has the back story: “Story Behind the Song”
    Luke Bryan’s Kick the Dust up.

    Read this story,you will feel heart broken how 3 songwriters came up with the Song. Nashville needs a new direction. Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson and Chis Destefano have lost their way where country music is now.

  • Megan Chavez

    What happened?! This song is truly disappointing!!!