Luke Combs: ‘Growin’ Up’ – Album Review
Luke Combs’ brand new album, Growin’ Up, is out now, June 24th on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.
Just five years since the release of his debut single, “Hurricane,” and just five days since the debut of his first child, Luke Combs is Growin’ Up. Today, the man whose rise to superstardom can only be described as meteoric, released his third album, a twelve song collection reflecting who he is, where he’s been, and where he’s going.
As one one of country music’s most ascendant superstars, he’s currently headlining stadiums across the country while juggling the title of ACM Entertainer of the Year. “I’ve been working on this album on and off for two and a half years now. It was sort of a crazy process through what COVID brought, and what that meant for our touring life last year. It made me have to put a pause on this album for a second, but I’m just really stoked that it’s finally coming out… I think that the fans are going to love these songs. I’m just excited to get them out and see what they think.”
Each of the album’s dozen tracks were co-written by the North Carolina native who has become country’s most popular everyman. Rather than rely on gimmicks, dance moves, pop beats, or genre-bending collaborations, Combs remains true to his roots as a country purist, his voice weathered with the kind of transcendent grit that only comes along once in a generation.
In fact, the only collaboration to be found on Growin’ Up is with Miranda Lambert, whom, despite occasional detours into pop country, has returned to her roots with the stellar release of Palomino. The pair trade verses on “Outrunnin’ Your Memory,” a twangy and guitar-laden ode to getting over the one who got away. The song has the breezy country feel of the Eagles with subtle hints of Bakersfield that make it pure perfection.
While Combs does touch on the typical country tropes of love and love lost on Growin’ Up, he also shows a more introspective side on tracks like “Doin’ This” and “Used to Wish I Was.” On the former, he muses that his career “ain’t about the fame, ain’t about the fortune,” but about that moment of connecting with a crowd. “I’d still be doin’ this // If I wasn’t doin’ this,” He sings, and it’s impossible not to believe him. Meanwhile, on “Used to Wish I Was,” he celebrates the dreams he used to have that didn’t quite come true. Think Garth Brooks’ “Unanswered Prayers” with a modern, up-tempo twist.
Combs shows his raucous side on “Any Given Friday Night,” the perfect live show opener with its booming guitars and driving dedication to getting a little crazy in Anytown, USA on “any given Friday night.” Likewise, “Ain’t Far From It” has hints of 90’s country, while “Middle of Somewhere” and “Better Back When” sees a nostalgic Combs longing for days when things were simpler.
“Those were some good times // Those were the best nights // The freedom ya feel when you’re learning to fly // And the song on the radio // Was singing our lives // I can’t say that the moon in the sky // Was shinin’ any brighter than it is tonight // But it looked on fire back then // It probably wasn’t, but it seemed a little better back when”
“On the Other End of the Line” is remnant of Brad Paisley’s 2001 hit, “I’m Gonna Miss Her,” finding Combs torn between the two loves of his life: a woman and fishing. Meanwhile, there’s no second guessing his devotion on the sultry slow burn of “The Kind of Love We Make.”
“Let’s get some candles burning // And some records turning // All the lights down low // Take it nice and slow // The way your body’s moving // Keep doing what you’re doing // to me all night long // Writin’ our love song // Girl, I want it, gotta have it // Let the passion take us to a higher place // Makin’ the kind of love we make”
The love is lost for Combs on songs like “Call Me” and “Tomorrow Me,” which find the earthy-voiced crooner struggling with regret. “Call Me” is tongue-in-cheek as he muses over all the names an ex might call him before actually (drunk) dialing his number, while “Tomorrow Me” finds him wrestling with a bad decision tonight affecting his tomorrow. The album concludes with the stirring and sparse “Going, Going, Gone,” which finds Combs reaching acceptance as he lets someone go.
“Like a runaway southbound train // Like an Arizona desert rain // Like lightning in the sky // Like fireworks in July // Like a left field home run ball // Like a whiskey shot at last call // It’s like she was made for moving on // That girl is going, going, gone…”
While it would be easy for Luke Combs to rest on his laurels and release 12 new tracks that sound like carbon copies of “Hurricane” or “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” he manages to evolve and stretch on Growin’ Up. In some ways, he’s the same Carolina boy he always was, but in others, he’s a brand new man. The album title couldn’t be more appropriate here, and I guess he’s just Growin’ Up.
Luke Combs – Growin’ Up Track List:
- Doin’ This (Luke Combs/Drew Parker/Robert Williford)
- Any Given Friday Night (Luke Combs/Randy Montana/Jonathan Singleton)
- The Kind of Love We Make (Luke Combs/Jamie Davis/Dan Isbell/Reid Isbell)
- On the Other Line (Luke Combs/Thomas Archer/Dan Isbell/James McNair/Randy Montana)
- Outrunnin’ Your Memory w/ Miranda Lambert (Luke Combs/Miranda Lambert/Dan Isbell)
- Used To Wish I Was (Luke Combs/Deric Ruttan/Jonathan Singleton)
- Better Back When (Luke Combs/Ray Fulcher/Dan Isbell/Randy Montana)
- Tomorrow Me (Luke Combs/Dean Dillon/Ray Fulcher)
- Ain’t Far From It (Luke Combs/Ray Fulcher/Dan Isbell/Reid Isbell)
- Call Me (Luke Combs/Shane Minor/Jonathan Singleton)
- Middle of Somewhere (Luke Combs/Randy Montana/Jonathan Singleton)
- Going, Going, Gone (Luke Combs/Ray Fulcher/James McNair)
Our Top Picks:
- “Doin’ This”
- “Outrunnin’ Your Memory”
- “Tomorrow Me”
- “Any Given Friday Night”
Growin’ Up is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.