Few surprises in Luke Bryan’s ‘Crash My Party’

(Capitol Nashville via AP)

Luke Bryan’s new album comes complete with a pre-sold No. 1 song in the title track. The burbling ballad cannily upends the platinum-selling, award-winning singer-songwriter’s one-man-spring-break image, offering a vision of a sensitive boyfriend ready to drop everything — even a night out raising hell with his bros! — for the right lady. On a record choking on current country songwriting cliches — there are more tanned legs and tailgates here than in a Kenny Chesney stadium show parking lot — it is a musical Heimlich maneuver. Elsewhere he employs some hip-hop pop cadences to cringe-worthy effect to extol the virtues of everyone from Conway Twitty to T-Pain on the opener, “That’s My Kind of Night,” strolls down memory lane to that ubiquitous bonfire kegger in the woods “in the middle of nowhere U.S.A.” on “We Run This Town,” and puffs his chest for his “Blood Brothers.” Bryan is a likable guy with a warmth to his voice who has released some solid songs in his career. A few tunes here transcend their formulaic trappings, including the heartfelt “Dirt Road Diary” and the gauzy summer-at-the-beach memories of “Roller Coaster.” But the majority of the record is given over to “Party” games we’ve heard Bryan — and many others in contemporary country — play before. (Out Tuesday)
Sarah Rodman

ESSENTIAL "Crash My Party"