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REVIEW: Luke Combs – ‘What You See Ain’t Always What You Get’ (Bonus Tracks)



The hit machine that is Luke Combs has dropped the ‘Deluxe’ edition of his hugely successful album, ‘What You See Is What You Get’, the aptly-named ‘What You See Ain’t Always What You Get’, featuring five brand new recordings, some of which are no doubt destined to dominate the radio charts in the coming months. 

What Luke Combs offers in abundance is consistency. He knows exactly what’s expected of him by his adoring fan base, and never strays far from that path. With these five new songs, Luke adopts the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, extending an already strong body of work with a new batch that will keep the loyal ‘Bootleggers’ on side. It’s difficult to put your finger on what Luke does so well with every release; he just has ‘it’, and he’s created a distinct sound that has struck a chord with the masses. Expect much more of the same here.

The first of the new songs, ‘Cold As You’, veers on the ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart’ end of the Luke Combs spectrum; a ginormous stadium anthem that serves a big ‘F*** You’ to a ‘cold’ ex. Like any of the five songs on offer here, there’s undeniable country radio potential, and it taps into that signature fierce redneck mentality that just works so well. You can’t beat a rowdy revenge tune sometimes, and this is a fine example. ‘My Kinda Folk’ follows suit, albeit with a slightly softer vibe, reminding us of Luke’s humble down-home background. Another one that will be a massive singalong moment in his future live shows. 

‘The Other Guy’ sees a breakup from a whole different perspective to ‘Cold As You’. Written from the angle of a guy who looks like he’s doing fine on the outside, but still hasn’t moved on, it’s a classic Luke Combs mid-tempo offering to add to his stellar back catalogue. 

Luke’s collaboration with violinist Amanda Shires, ‘Without You’, is one of the deluxe album’s most impressive moments, and one of Luke’s best releases to date. Right up there with the likes of ‘Even Though I’m Leaving’, this one showcases the sentimental side to Luke’s songwriting to perfection, thanking his legion of supporters for their unrivalled support in an emotional expression of gratitude. Trad-country Luke Combs as his absolute best.

“Sure it’s me behind this mic stand
And it’s me strumming this Gibson
It’s me they love to give the credit to
But me don’t mean a thing without you”

It’s moments like these when Luke Combs truly fulfils his immense potential. Likewise, ‘Forever After All’ is a stunner, which found its way onto the deluxe album after Luke teased a clip on TikTok back in August, provoking a huge fan reaction. Following on from the likes of ‘Beautiful Crazy’ and ‘Better Together’, this one closes the album with a touching love letter to his wife, Nicole.

“Just a T-shirt in the kitchen
With no make-up and a million
Other things that I could look at my whole life
A love like that makes a man have second thoughts
Maybe some things last forever after all”

For as long as Luke Combs maintains this level of quality, and stays true to his roots, there really is no stopping his meteoric rise. He’s the fan’s champion right now, and it’s not difficult to see why. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for that next UK appearance.

Dan Wharton

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