Luke Combs Hits Like a Hurricane With Debut Album

I've been listening to Luke Combs for a few years now. I've seen him when I was standing in the front row with only a handful of others singing along. I've also seen him in a sold out bar. I've most recently seen him when I couldn't get within 100 yards of the stage at a festival. All of this was within a year and half. Combs' career has exploded faster than any artist I have ever followed.

I first came across him when I heard the song She Got the Best of Me on Spotify in 2015, which is still my favorite tune by him. Shortly after, he debuted his song Hurricane. Despite the drum beat and computer generated sounds of the song, I loved it. I loved the message. I loved the emotion he put into the song. It got me to listen to his two EPs (at the time) over and over, besides two songs.

However, Luke Combs has always had a divisive sound to most. I feel the same about his songs. He has songs that I do not like and he has songs that I will defend until my dying breath. This is a perfect summation of his debut album. This One's for You takes five of its tracks from the six-track EP of the same name from last year. The one track he decided to not use is arguably his best song from the EP. Used to You is a depressing and heartfelt song that should've been highlighted on his first album, not forgotten and left behind.

The biggest draw to the album for most is his smash hit, Hurricane, which slowly but surely climbed its way up the charts over a two year period until it finally hit number one. His new single, When It Rains It Pours, is a funny reinterpretation of the title phrase where everything is going his way instead of wrong after a break up. I have no doubt that this song will climb the charts. Though Combs writes all of his songs, it seems that some of his songs can just be filler songs for an album. In his short career, he's wrote duds such as The Way She Rides, Can I Get an Outlaw, Don't Tempt Me and Beer Can. They're not meant to be serious songs by any means, but that doesn't forgive them. This album is a safe album to debut with, carried magnificently by his powerful voice. There is no doubt that he wrote most of the songs in the mindset of having a good time. He has taken advantage of the state of the current country landscape and wrote what he knows will sell. Hurricane was a song he created to make music. It was written when he wasn't playing to sold out crowds.

Luke Combs has only been playing guitar for about 6 years. Most artists are playing on stage for 10 years before finding the success they want. Kevin and I have discussed before that with finding success this quickly, it could lead to creating the music he's told to make, not the music he wants to make. As a huge Luke Combs fan, this album is good, not great, but hopefully doesn't open the doors to writing what others want to hear, not what he feels.

Favorite track: Lonely One

From his seven new tracks, Lonely One has to be my favorite. It is also my overall favorite, even beating out the hit Hurricane. This is one of the best examples of how powerful and emotional Combs' voice can be. Honky Tonk Highway and I Got Away With You are also great songs from the album, but Lonely Ones just catches my ear a little more.

7/10

Second Opinion
by Kevin Hodge

I’m going to sound like an absolute hipster, but I was a Luke Combs fan before it was cool.  I saw Luke in concert at Joe’s bar as part of a small crowd back in early 2016 and had been a fan of his for months before that when his only music on Spotify was his Can I Get An Outlaw and The Way She Rides EP’s. I remember when Hurricane was released and only had a few thousand streams. I start my review with this because I feel the need to separate the This One’s For You album into two parts: the This One’s For You EP songs (released in 2016) and the new songs as part of the 2017 full album release.

The only song off the identically named EP not on the album is Used to You which is actually my favorite of those songs. I really liked that EP and so my opinion on those songs does not change now that they are part of an album. As for the new songs, I can’t help but feel as though he went with safer or more "radio friendly" songs to fill the album with as to try to attract a larger audience. Of the new songs, I think I Got Away With You is the best, and a good song in its own right, but unfortunately I don’t think any of the other new songs are on the same level as the EP. In my opinion, he now stands at a crossroads as to where the sound of his music goes for the remainder of his career. He has enough commercial success now to be able to put out simple party songs year after year and make a great living. He also has the voice and songwriting ability to release some real quality music as he goes forward. Here’s to hoping he goes with the latter.

EP Songs 8/10
New Songs 5/10
Overall 6.5/10