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★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Tired of seeing “Long-neck, ice-cold beer never broke my heart” all over people’s Instagram captions and tweets? Fear not! Luke Combs has given us all new-inspiration.

Luke Combs has released his second studio album, “What You See Is What You Get,” and I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t stoked about having to listen to it. 

I thought my high expectations of the songwriter-turned-endearing-pop-country-singer were going to fall tragically flat. I was dreading having to listen to an hour of meaningless pop-country.

I was wrong, in every aspect.

“What You See Is What You Get” lived up to my expectations and surpassed them time and time again. I couldn’t help but hum along and get nostalgic for the days of growing up in a small town.

This record has everything. It’s got love songs, it’s got odes to friendship, it’s got heartbreak and redemption. It’s got Brooks & Dunn! 

Combs leaned into the twang of ‘90s country, reminding me of the greats like Garth Brooks, Chris LeDoux and Alan Jackson. But he didn’t do it so much that it felt like overkill.

Through all of this, you can hear Combs singing his heart out and remembering where he came from.

The album is so full of killer tracks that it’s hard to pick highlights. Almost every song reminded me of a moment in my life or made me look forward to the future.  Usually there’s a track where a record will slow down and you’ll zone out at least once. That didn’t happen here.

“Refrigerator Door” feels so small-town American that it honestly made me miss the Friday night lights, even though I don’t even like football and quit cheerleading after two seasons. 

I can hear “Blue Collar Boys” playing in the truck shop at the gold mine I worked at. I can see mechanics and welders of all ages and backgrounds singing this inside the cab of a 300-ton haul truck.  

Country gets a lot of heat for being “boring” or “typical” or “one-sided.” But in songs like “Blue Collar Boys,” people can see themselves. They hear about their lives and it’s not about someone trying to escape it. They can feel proud.

This was the moment on the album where I knew Combs could fully live up to the hype.

The title track, “What You See Is What You Get,” brought my mood up so high that I actually got PUMPED. Combs has chops, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. He can sing, he can tell the story of your life, and he hasn’t let fame change who he is.

Luke Combs is absolutely the guy that you’d shotgun a beer with. And then he’ll let you vent about your ex afterward. And then he’ll give you a hug and tell you everything is going to be alright. And then you’ll believe him.