Published Nov 11, 2019North Carolina native Luke Combs' second album, What You See Is What You Get, is filled with vim and vigour, as Combs' quirky country music develops a contemporary popular appeal.
"1, 2 Many," a Brooks and Dunn collaboration, is an ode to '90s country anthems that echoes the duos hits, "Beer Thirty" and "Only in America." Lyrical themes about American culture continue with the rockin' "Blue Collar Boys." The ballad "New Every Day" is a quippy and teachable love song about heartbreak, and Combs comes to terms with a broken heart with a memorable electric guitar lick and an acoustic guitar intonation on "Reasons." The appealing and snappy "Every Little Bit Helps" is melodically comparable to Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," and the impressive dueling double guitar solo outro solidifies the spectacular musicianship.
The danceable "Angels Workin' Overtime" brings the fun, while "Dear Today" starts as a stripped-down recording with vocals and acoustic guitar before the band chimes in. "Better Together" features only a piano and vocals on a stirring and heartening love ballad about a current sweetheart. The honky tonkin' piano, guitar licks and musicianship on the title track are classic country additions to a pop melody. An Eric Church collaboration diverges in tone and gives a different ambience akin to Zac Brown Band's "Toes," while a pop rock production varies in timbre on "All Over Again."
The quality of musicianship, lyrical content and melodies on What You See Is What You Get marks one of the top calibre country albums of the decade. (Sony Music Nashville)