By now Luke Bryan has established his defining sound, and he chooses comfort over exploration on his third CD, "tailgates & tanlines." The only major change is his songwriting contributions. Bryan co-wrote most of the songs on his first two albums, but stepped back here with his name on 8 or the 13 songs. To be fair, this doesn't really have any effect on the overall sound.
The disc starts off with what may have been the worst song of 2011, Country Girl (Shake It for Me). Bryan doesn't have the presence of established artists like Toby Keith or Trace Adkins who can successfully pull off shallow songs like Red Solo Cup and Honky Tonk Badonkadonk respectively. However, those who helped to send the song to the top of the charts may be disappointed with the rest. The combination of mid tempo songs (Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, second single I Don't Want This Night to End) and slow ballads (Drunk on You, I Know You're Gonna Be There) make up the bulk of a decent mainstream country album.
Bryan doesn't pushing country music boundaries. He seems comfortable with his sound and created an inoffensive album. Despite the huge misstep of the lead single, the album is a pleasant listen. He comes across like a stereotypical farm boy, comfortable in his role as an artist. He doesn't fit in with the cowboys like George Strait or the rockers like Eric Church, and Bryan doesn't seem to mind.