Four Expectations For “The Great American Bar Scene”

Four Expectations For "The Great American Bar Scene"
Louie Nice

With Zach Bryan’s rising prominence in the music industry, the anticipation for his upcoming album, The Great American Bar Scene, is impressively profound. Set to release on the 4th of July, the expectations for this album are at an all-time high after his record-breaking success in the last two years. As all eyes are on the 28-year-old, the aftermath of his release is poised to be one of the most thrilling in recent memory.

1. Album Rollout Impact

Zach Bryan tends to go against the traditional way of things, which has continued to hold true with the rollout of this collection. Traditionally, an artist will announce an album and lead single months in advance. From there, they commonly release a new song every few weeks, gradually generating buzz. In many cases, that buzz inevitably dies before the album is even out.

Like a TV show that releases episodes weekly instead of all at once, listeners get tired of the excessive build-up of a traditional release cycle and ultimately want to consume the album on their own terms. By the time the project is released, a large portion of it will have already been out for a while.

On the other hand, Zach Bryan has handled things in a very different manner. Snippets and teasers found their way on TikTok and Instagram, exemplifying the value of surprise in such a corporatized industry. The original snippet of Zach Bryan’s “Pink Skies” is up to over 164.5k posts. However, outside of the teasers and minor details about the album, there was no other information despite the listener’s desire for it. Bryan didn’t officially share the release date until less than two weeks before the album was scheduled to drop. This could have an exciting effect on the first week’s numbers, positively or negatively. 

Luke Combs took a similar approach while rolling out his album by announcing a release date a week before it came out. Fathers and Sons launched at #6 on the Billboard 200 in its first week, the lowest debut for any of his albums. It’s possible a similar thing can happen to Bryan, but it can also work to his benefit. Like he did with “Pink Skies,” Zach Bryan can seize the moment by giving fans what they want while interest is high. 

The unique rollout has added an unknown element, making listeners want more of what they can’t yet have. While nothing is guaranteed, The Great American Bar Scene has the potential to be Bryan’s biggest debut to date.

2. Star Power

A lot of the initial hype of The Great American Bar Scene has come from Zach Bryan’s “Quittin’ Time” tour. He has been selling out stadiums across the nation with his astounding performances. Each show seems to have a memorable moment as he consistently brings out special guests during his set. These massive names have included the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, and guitar wizard John Mayer. He played the songs “Sandpaper” with Springsteen and “Better Days” with Mayer, both of which are thus far unreleased. Between those moments and teasers on social media, it’s a common belief that the two superstars will be featured in those tracks on this record. 

Any project with Bruce Springsteen on it will leave a lasting impression, and adding John Mayer into the mix automatically makes the record a must-listen for any contemporary music fan. The star power alone could be enough to take the album’s numbers to another level, especially beyond country music. It mixes multiple genres and generations, bringing in a wide audience to check them out. Even if the songs aren’t up to par, fans’ curiosity will get the best of them to check out The Great American Bar Scene. 

3. A Follow Up EP? 

Zach Bryan followed up both American Heartbreak and his self-titled album with an EP roughly a month after their respective records. This begs the question, will The Great American Bar Scene have a follow-up EP? After releasing an EP a month after his last two albums, it’s fair to expect the same this time.

However, Zach Bryan’s release schedule has always been unpredictable, so there is no telling what could happen. It’s always a safe bet to expect the unexpected regarding Zach Bryan, but it wouldn’t be a shock for a project to come out a month or two after The Great American Bar Scene

In the past, his EPs have been pretty polarizing as some of his listeners prefer to let the initial album breathe, while others want as much music as possible. Bryan is releasing the music he wants to release when he wants to, and he’s never had much regard for outside opinions on his career, which has ultimately become one of his greatest strengths.

4. Save a Slow 2024

2024 has been off to an underwhelming start in country music, especially compared to last year. 2023 was one of the best years country music has ever seen, making it nearly impossible for this year to meet expectations. There hasn’t been much to be excited about through the year’s first half, with the lack of A-listers releasing cross-genre hits music.

Luke Combs released an emotional 12-track album, Fathers & Sons, but it wasn’t enough to save the slow year. It’s one of the best records of 2024, but it alone doesn’t quite provide the satisfaction country music listeners were looking for. 

If anyone can make 2024 a banner year for country music, it’s Zach Bryan. Bryan’s overall aura has also contributed to the hype. Bringing fans on stage, the energy of “Revival” live, and his overall presence has always made him easy to root for. He has shown there is more to him than just the music he’s putting out. He’s more of a celebrity than a country artist, which draws more interest in his album.

This collection is undoubtedly the most anticipated album of 2024, which puts pressure on it to be the “staple album” of the year. If it delivers, it could completely change how country music is perceived in 2024 despite its slow start.

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