Luke Combs, Koe Wetzel, & More – Single Round-Up

Adam DeGross

Week of 05/18/2024

Ain’t No Love in Oklahoma – Luke Combs Written By Brandon Iozzo

Chosen as the lead single off of the soundtrack for the upcoming film Twisters, Luke Combs leans into country rock influences and a change in sonic direction on “Ain’t No Love in Oklahoma.” Co-written by Jessi Alexander, Jonathan Singleton, and Combs, this electric track is as in-your-face as the title suggests; it pairs hand in hand with the disaster film’s theme as the lyrics describe the feelings of storm chasing with one wanting peace but yearning the thrill. The track’s production mirrors a Brantley Gilbert cut with electric guitar riffs and gritty vocals. Still, in this instance, it feels like Combs could have pushed the boundaries more with experimental rock rather than a middle-of-the-road semi-crossover, which echoes singles like “Cold As You” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart.” This taste of what’s to come with Combs’ next record is sure to stir up anticipation among fans and critics alike, who, while not growing numb to his music, are eagerly expecting a change of pace four albums into his career, hopefully with more rock-influenced anthems such as this.


HARDY – PSYCHO Written By Creed Miller

As HARDY gears up for the release of his rock album in July, he dropped “PSYCHO,” the record’s third single, this past Friday. Its vibe is slightly less aggressive than “QUIT!!” or “ROCKSTAR” while still having a bold rock feel. Written by HARDY himself, along with Jax, Zach Abend, and shockingly, Tyler Hubbard, the song delves into the emotions of a man on the brink of madness if his girl leaves him. The lyrics provide examples of just what he will do to make everyone they know question her decision to fall in love with a “psycho.” The concept is exciting and HARDY-esque, but it could’ve been executed better. The chorus should’ve shared more exciting examples of his unhinged impulses than crashing birthday parties in his underwear, which made it feel more campy than hardcore. HARDY and Joey Moi teamed up again for production, which carries the single with anthemic, radio-ready energy. The production has been a central point in keeping these songs exciting through HARDY’s rock experimentation, which was held for “PSYCHO.” If listeners approach this with the expectation of hearing a rock song, they will leave with a positive experience, though he throws no bones to country fans on this one.


Koe Wetzel – Sweet Dreams Written By Creed Miller 

Koe Wetzel has given listeners another taste of what to expect on his upcoming sixth album. If fans weren’t sold on what Wetzel has in store, they should be now, as this vulnerable track marks three consecutive quality songs from the Texas native. This single is about a man reflecting on his past relationships and taking responsibility for their fallout; he can’t keep a good thing for too long because he is such a “nightmare.” So far, all of the songs on “9 Lives” seem to revisit his original grungy while seamlessly incorporating the country sensibilities he has acquired. The haunting production complements Wetzel’s voice but stands out with a chilly, atmospheric style. While the output is unique to the rest of the Koe’e catalog, the song becomes monotonous, especially after a few listens. Still, it’s a complete and well-rounded track, something we haven’t seen consistently from Wetzel. All three songs from his upcoming album have been stellar singles for the country-rock star, and listeners should look forward to what’s coming.


Should’ve Been a Cowboy (Live) – Jason Aldean, Written By Jack Humphrey

In the last decade of Jason Aldean’s career, passion and charisma have been annoyingly absent from most of his records. With one bland album after another, it’s been easy to imagine that to him, his songs are more like a product to be mass-produced and sold than a piece of art to which he has any real attachment. However, this past week, Aldean finally found that artistic fervor on the ACM Awards’ stage when he saluted the late, great Toby Keith. His inspired cover of “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” wasn’t just respectful but flatly powerful. In his heartfelt delivery, you can tell that Toby Keith was important to the Georgia native early on, and Jason’s gruff drawl almost seemed to channel the “Big Dog Daddy” himself. Bringing majestic ambiance to the song, a string quartet backed Aldean and his acoustic guitar players, culminating in a reverent and musically unique homage. As odd as it may seem, Jason Aldean was the right man for this tribute and made a strong case for his potential should the right song come his way.


Bulletproof – Nate Smith, Avril Lavigne Written By Brandon Iozzo

Since its recent release just a few months prior, Nate Smith’s solo version of “Bulletproof” has already stalled on the charts; though he’s moving on from his debut LP, that single didn’t precisely signal much change musically for him. In a surprising move, “Bulletproof’s” remix includes Avril Lavigne, a name that wouldn’t have been a first guess on the minds of those in the country community. With just a second verse and some faint backing vocals sprinkled in, the potential of this pairing is a missed opportunity. There’s no doubt that Lavigne’s features are fiery and bold, just as listeners are used to on her solo projects. Still, some new lyrics or a co-write from the self-dubbed “Princess of Punk” would have given the track an added spark, perhaps a bitter, feminine touch to bring out the animosity of the lyrics and build the chemistry between both artists. While most of Smith’s singles are poised to garner success by fitting in on country radio, the “Bulletproof” remix is left a bit half-baked and creatively confusing.


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