Luke Bryan

Doin' My Thing

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On his second album, Luke Bryan's thing is decidedly lighter and relaxed than it was on his 2007 debut, I'll Stay Me, with the uptempo songs veering toward funny odes to good times and the slower songs flirting with crossover power ballads. Tellingly, whatever disharmony there is between these two extremes -- lamenting that country is not a pristine John Deere cap nor mall-bought rebel flag, then singing a cover of OneRepublic's "Apologize," which brings him way too close to that very mall -- comes from outside writers chosen to give Bryan a crossover hit that he very well may get on his own terms based on the strength of the eight tunes he co-wrote here. Bryan never pushes his good-old boy or romantic sides too hard, sounding equally convincing when he's singing about "Drinkin' Beer and Wastin' Bullets," or when he's wooing a lover on "Do I." This light, easy touch helps sell those occasional contrived moments, but it's better showcased on his originals, where he seems like the good-hearted, slightly mischievous, boy next door who never wants to get goofy like Big & Rich or go to the Caribbean like Kenny Chesney; he only wants to stick around his home town and sing songs...and there's plenty of charm in that attitude, as evidenced by this ingratiating sophomore effort.

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