The short version: “Beer Never Broke My Heart” pretty much works for what it is, not that it would matter for Luke Combs anyway at this point.
- Writers: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Jonathan Singleton
- Rating: 7/10
The long version: Let’s be honest – Luke Combs’s rendition of the alphabet could become a multi-platinum smash hit at this point.
That might not be out of the question either, as there’s no artist who’s had more success in the past few years than Combs. Right now, he’s the face of country music, like it or not. Thankfully, I’m personally happy he’s our ambassador for the genre right now.
It’s not that Combs is necessarily doing something radically different, but it’s different in comparison to the current mainstream country landscape. Combs has succeeded because he’s bridged a gap between country music tradition and modern professionalism, all while dressing the part of an average Joe rather than a corporate gimmick.
And it’s important to keep that in mind, because his appeal to those everyday tropes is likely what prompted a lead single called “Beer Never Broke My Heart” in the first place. To play devil’s advocate, even as someone who’s highly against “Old Town Road,” I will say it’s hard for Combs to say country music needs to be taken seriously and then release something like this. At the same time, this is the kind of simple, easy-to-like song that fits right at home in the genre.
I wouldn’t think Combs is taking notes from Blake Shelton (if anything, I’d say it’s the other way around these days), but “Beer Never Broke My Heart” draws from the same darker production well that Shelton’s current single, “God’s Country,” does. The song is mainly anchored by a prominent banjo line and a meaty, heavy, swampy, slow-rolling electric guitar groove that adds some nice muscle to the track. On one hand, it might not scream as “fun” like the song intended, but that’s a note for the vocal performance and lyrical content.
Lyrically, the song is no masterpiece, but it does what it needs to do. Combs has admittedly explored the ever-fascinating world of beer in more interesting ways like on “Beer Can,” but there’s a goofy charm to it that resonates nonetheless. The first verse is mainly just a checklist for every clichéd topic you’d expect in country music (girls, trucks, dogs … etc.), and the woman described in the second verse is as generic as can be. Again, though, the main draw is in the title, and you can pretty much tell what Combs is going for here before you even hear the first note.
Speaking of Combs, while I wouldn’t say his delivery is too out of the ordinary, his upper range is tested as he sings in an angry, almost defiant tone. I’m not wild about a few of the vocal effects here and there, and normally I wouldn’t be a fan of singers overselling their material. But for as much as the production and vocal tones seem to contradict the loose nature of the song, it also works to sell what is essentially a true revelation for our narrator, which can also work to provide some humor. It’s a loud, anthemtic rocker that shouldn’t work, and yet does.
Critically, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” is mildly solid with some flaws here and there. Otherwise, it’s already (and will continue to be) a huge smash that will be the first of many to come for this era. Thankfully, Combs’ idea of superstardom fits within the country music landscape, and the material is good without comparisons or qualifiers.