Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Luke Bryan – Most People Are Good

Most Luke Bryan songs… ah.. well.


Joshua Minsoo Kim: A beautiful message of hope.

Iain Mew: Savage Garden’s “Affirmation” as a slow dance: sure. It eases its way into a world view at least as well, for the most part. The thing I can’t get past, though, is the title line centring the most complacent appeal to a just world. It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing at that point — what real statement could possible hang off that shrug?

Scott Mildenhall: Almost twenty years on, Savage Garden’s “Affirmation” stands up pretty well. As well as being an MOR banger, it is quietly, but concertedly political. Some things have clearly changed, of course: a statement like “I believe you can’t control or choose your sexuality” has, for one thing, come through a period of being de rigueur in some parts of American pop music. It’s from there and elsewhere that a line could be drawn to Luke Bryan saying remarkably similar things to Darren Hayes today, but with all of their teeth removed. Everything is softer here, and predictably small c-conservative. “Love” makes for a far less pointed lyric than “sexuality.” Where Hayes critiqued capitalism, Bryan merely dips a toe into “strivers and skivers” rhetoric. Even Hayes’ evaluation of parents is practically Larkin compared to Bryan’s. So why the desire to be so non-confrontational? Most people probably are good, but who Luke Bryan is trying to convince of that is what’s most intriguing.

Alfred Soto: Splendid title — I wish writers in any genre were this forthright. And Luke Bryan, shrewdie par excellence, understands his audience like a pawn shop owner understands an old accordion. Parents want to believe kids should get fresh air like they, the parents, didn’t when they played Atari. Parents want to believe their kids will have it easier than they did, whether the streets were paved in gold or dirt. Certainly they wanna believe their kids will revere motherhood. The acoustic guitar backup is as solid as Social Security, the latter a product of politicians who didn’t believe people were good enough to guarantee a safe, secure old age for mamas who are saints. Luke Bryan knows this shit — he’s dumb but he’s not dumb. He’s even canny — cynical — enough to believe that “you love who you love” as an organ peel evokes a wedding day, perhaps the afternoon the Supreme Court affirmed Obergefell. Bryan sings warmly and well. How marvelous to watch your children mature in a world where you can be sure they have trees outside their homes to climb, phones they can afford to turn off, and organs and guitars to affirm these verities.

Micha Cavaseno: A motto like “Most People Are Good”, if you’ll allow me the sort of pretense to be paranoiac, always sounds insidious. It might be because I most recently heard this from a terrible source in my own life, malicious and petty at the threat of responsibility, but it kind of underlies a sort of indignation in the phrase; if “Most People Are Good,” then what implies the exception, and why are so many people incapable of willing themselves to be good or do good, or why do as many people as they do now think so vehemently otherwise? The answer of course is that anyone who might take this up as a flag is unbothered by the world around them and thinks to want to change things is being “over-aggressive.” With his back to yesteryear nostalgia, anti-TV hectoring and false sense of understanding, Luke Bryan is basically the dude who appears online to ask “What y’all mad about this time ;)” as if fucked-up situations don’t actually occur, its just some sort of trend. I can’t wait for his next round of rote patronizations such as “It’s Not That Deep” or “Gotta Hear Both Sides!” to be compressed alongside his nasal delivery and snooze-worthy production.

Julian Axelrod: Imagine watching the news and deciding the most pressing issues facing our society are kids staring at screens, a lack of second chances and not appreciating our moms.

Katherine St Asaph: “I believe you love who you love, ain’t nothing to be ashamed of.” OK, Luke Bryan, was not expecting that to show up, repeated every chorus no less. It’s not much; and I don’t believe most people are good, and as a result I believe Bryan will get less pushback than Kacey Musgraves did for “Follow Your Arrow.” But there’s nothing explicitly retrograde, no Trumpian “we stand for the national anthem” sneering and minimal Lambertian “whatever happened to waiting your turn” dog-whistling, so: Politics — better than you’d think! Music — The reason “Affirmation,” to which I didn’t need a sequel, was not terrible is that it cut its glurge with levity and anti-glurge, and set it to a whirring, ebullient track. I believe most whirring, ebullient tracks are good, and that most acoustic sap is boring.

Thomas Inskeep: A poor man’s “Humble and Kind,” not written as well as Lori McKenna’s song and not sung as well as Tim McGraw can do it — which kinda sums Luke Bryan up tidily. 

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7 Responses to “Luke Bryan – Most People Are Good”

  1. @Joshua I’m crying with laughter, omg

  2. Josh’s blurb gave me a good laugh

  3. I am really struggling wiht this, because yeah explicit queer content but jesus, can we have something more explicit?

  4. Good things? In my people?

  5. The latest weekly fuckup by Saving Country Music prompted me to look up the take on this:

    “None of the online outlets yelling at country artists to take a more forward-thinking approach to social issues will ever give Luke Bryan and the songwriters any credit for including a line like this in a major song, when they should be raising his name and this song to the roof if they actually cared about social change through music as opposed to just scoring body blows and venting anger against their enemies in pointed political take downs.”


  6. That Saving Country Music post sure is long! Best summed up as “It’s not ‘Humble and Kind,’ but wake up, you lib ingrates!”

    Did you notice what he remarked about Margo Price?

  7. of course