The short version: As it turns out, boots were made for walkin’ instead of knockin’.
- Writers: Jon Nite, Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson
- Rating: 5/10
The long version: We’ve reached a point in time where Luke Bryan is harmless. Between the lackluster chart runs of recent hits like “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” and “What Makes You Country” and the fact that his last album was released in December 2017 (the worst time of year to release an album), Bryan’s star power isn’t what it used to be.
And considering his newest single, “Knockin’ Boots” was released with essentially no fanfare behind it, you have to wonder if Bryan’s team is just trying to figure out what’s next for him. Bro-country is long-dead, and Bryan has already tried his hand at the new “authenticity” trend plaguing country music.
If “Knockin’ Boots” is an indication of anything, though, it’s that Bryan and his team have no clue what to try anymore. As such, the song offers nothing new to Bryan’s catalog you haven’t heard before. While it’s not a disaster like his worst material, “Knockin’ Boots” is oddly forgettable for a lead single, and that just may be worse for him overall.
Restrained is one word to describe the song’s production, but I’d say hollow is a better one. Bryan’s voice is pushed to the front of the mix while he’s guided by finger snaps to create what feels like his take on modern doo-wop. I suppose points are in order for taking the odd route of focusing heavily on the percussion, but there’s something about “Knockin’ Boots” that just feels empty. Sure, an electric guitar permeates after the song’s choruses, but this is a song that largely feels unfinished and, more importantly, unexciting.
In terms of the content, there’s not much here either. The song’s lyrical structure coasts on a repeated formula of “this (insert item name here) needs (insert other item name here),” and from there, it’s essentially the country music edition of Mad Libs for pretty much every item you’d expect in a Bryan song. It’s rarely troubling, save for the line about guys needing girls to kiss and love them (they’re capable of doing other things you know), but to repeat the money line with this review, it’s rarely exciting.
There have certainly been worse songs released in country music this year, but “Knockin’ Boots” is easily the most pointless song I’ve heard all year, which is arguably worse. At least the bad tracks will be remembered. With “Knockin’ Boots,” it’s as if Bryan understands his influence is fading and doesn’t know how to branch out in a new or interesting direction. Overall, “Knockin’ Boots” is perfectly skippable.