Single Review: Luke Bryan, “Strip it Down”

“Strip it Down”
Luke Bryan

Written by Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman and Jon Nite

How many ways are there to say that a song doesn’t sound remotely country? I wish I knew of a few more, because I’ve been having to make this most common criticism for so long now that I feel like there is no new or creative way to say it anymore.

Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down” is just another in a long string of his own singles that has been stripped of any country elements. The only aspects of the song that keep it from being a straight up pop single is its arbitrary reference to cowboy boots and that Bryan’s interesting but thin voice has more nasal than a typical pop singer’s voice. Other than that, the production is boring lame R&B pop with keyboards and drum machines.

Furthermore, while “Strip It Down” is lyrically tamer than other lusty songs of it’s ilk lately, it still succumbs to the pitfall that the way to make an intimate connection is to literally strip down rather than explore any emotional components of a dying relationship.

Grade: D+


  1. This song just proves the future irrelevancy of Luke Bryan. In 20 years, no in 5 years, NOBODY will remember this or any of Luke Bryan’s other songs. Nobody will sit back and reminisce on what their favorite Luke Bryan track was 5-10-15 years back. Nobody will remember what year a song came out, where they were when they first heard it or their first time hearing it live.

    Instead, he will age and be thrown into the irrelevant dump bin of country music and FM radio, At that point in time Bryan and his cohorts (Aldean, FGL, Rice, Swindell, etc.) will be considered too old for the young, under 30 crowd and they will have moved onto the next musical fad. The over 30 crowd might stay around in very small numbers; numbers way too small for any record label executive to care about. His career and the careers of those like him will still offer nothing of musical, make significantly less money and be as far out of the mainstream as a bad 80’s hair band. The question is, will mainstream country even exist at that point in time or will Bryan and his kin-folk have permanently stained and ruined the mainstream genre?

  2. Motown Mike,
    I’ve wondered similar things, but I keep telling myself that it’s like the Urban Cowboy phase of country music and that there will eventually be enough backlash to pull us out of this EDM country phase and we’ll get years as good as the Class of 89 and nineties country music as a result of and reward for our current suffering. We can hope anyway.

  3. I hope you’re right, Leeann. Heck, even anything half as good as the mid-to-late-’80s neotraditional movement would be a vast improvement over what we’re getting now…

  4. Just when you thought it was getting to be a little safer to listen to country radio, along comes this stereotypical, and arguably even misogynistic, bro-country tripe.

    This is just my opinion, but I’d rather much prefer either the neo-traditionalist movement of the late 80s or the Urban Cowboy movement to this junk.

  5. Actually, the neo-traditional movement of the late eighties was pretty good, so I’d definitely prefer that to this. And I do agree that this EDM phase is worse than even the urban cowboy period.

  6. The review didn’t make any sense. I listened to the song twice and it simply sounded like a love ballad no different than the Blake Shelton, Conway Twitty genre of lounge crooner fare. That’s been a part of country since the days of Ray Price and Faron Young.
    Sure it’s not evoking Grammy voters into a frenzy, but I don’t hate this song. It’s an old fashioned kind of country that you seemed to have forgotten.

  7. BuddyNoel,
    We’re clearly hearing different things than you (since it’s not just me hearing it the way I describe it in this review). I think it might’ve sounded similar to that of Conway Twitty/Ray Price crooner love fare if not for the terrible EDM style drum machine. Conway’s “I Love to Lay You Down” still had country elements to it that made it clear that it was a country song. It had real drums, for instance. Ray price’s crooner songs were orchestral, which isn’t my favorite period of country music, but I could take it over this EDM/R&B stuff. As for Blake Shelton, he’s just as bad as Luke Bryan, so I’ll give you that.

  8. I feel like he should apply the sentiment of the song to his own music. Strip down that god awful production, Luke. For crying out loud.

    There’s an acoustic version on Youtube and he sounds so sweetly earnest that I found myself actually enjoying the song. Luke’s straightforward charisma is one of his greatest strengths. I do not know why they insist upon burying it under drum machines.

  9. Like I said, I don’t hate this song. I appreciate when an artist tries something different and applaud the effort no matter the result. That’s the beauty of country. We rightfully criticize the lack of diversity at times during music trends and, on the other hand, a few of us openly cringe when an artist does step away from the formula. Nothing wrong with that either.
    I heard this and imagined Luke giving the band a break and doing this song with the simple drum and piano machine “solo” in full Conway crooner style, which is probably how he will approach it in concert.

  10. This single’s title serves as a triple-entendre that fails to pull off any of its directions competently…………which are 1) the obvious sexual connotation, 2) the metaphoric association with carpentry as a means of assessing and repairing a relationship on rough waters, and 3) the idea of stripping back your sound musically to where you focus on the intimacy of a bared-boned presentation.

    “Strip It Down” fails at all three, miserably.


    Firstly, much like “Burnin’ It Down”, the song sounds overcast and dreary. What is it with what are intended to be sex jams constantly adopting dark, brooding production selections? I’m certainly not implying they should sound the direct opposite that are major-key exaggerated happiness seeing that sex is a most complex, emotionally and aesthetically rich language and expression. But at the very least make it sound like you’re in the mood.

    Vocally, Bryan sounds uncommitted in his performance. Any urgency of reconciliation is limited to the bridge. Elsewhere, Bryan sounds absolutely muted on chorus lines like the beat/feet couplet and the entire first verse. There’s this disjointed kitchen sink faucet form in how he executes the aforementioned lyrics in a hushed, nearly unintelligible volume than returns to peak levels again with the subsequent lyrics. And it is pretty telling, on a side note, that he sounds more primed to destroy her cell phone in the second verse than acknowledge the deeper underlying issues affecting their relationship in the song. Uh, no: that’s just rude.


    Which gets to where the carpentry metaphor interpretation also swings and misses.

    All we hear is that, like a needle finds a groove, they’ll again find what they lost……….and that he wants to love her so bad.

    In fact, the word “love” only comes up once in the entire song. That’s outnumbered by the instances Bryan is focused on their clothing or, rather, the desire to disrobe. Hardly sounds like a resolve to assess everything that has deteriorated at their foundation, and formulate a plan of action to repair it, yes? Sounds more like “Skim It Now”.


    Finally, this absolutely fails as an exercise of stripping down Bryan’s sound to the basics.

    Just because your song is driven by a piano line doesn’t make it stripped-down by default. The production remains utterly sterile and mechanical, a ridiculous amount of reverb is applied to Bryan’s vocals, and contrasting with the piano is some startlingly stiff, languorous digital effects. And what’s with the wah-wah effects on the guitars just before the bridge? They sound more like UFO scanners or the kinds of electronic whirs you hear when you score bonuses or jackpots playing pinball at your local arcade than anything resembling a back-to-basics musical recording.


    “Strip It Down” fails as baby-making music, it fails as a song assessing a damaged relationship, and it fails as a stripped-down musical effort.

    Thanks for playing, Luke, try again! This gets a D from me.

  11. This song does nothing for me! I got so bored listening to it. Also, I think that Luke has a decent voice, but he (and all of the other bro-country dudes) are wasting away their talent (or whatever talent they have) singing these terrible songs.

  12. Imagine if Luke Bryan had George Strait quality material to sing. Imagine if his love songs were akin to “Carrying Your Love With Me”, “Check Yes or No”, “It Ain’t Cool (To Be Crazy Over You)”, “Blue Clear Sky” or “I Cross My Heart”. How much more enjoyable would this guy be as a music artist? I know it would be 10 fold in my book. It’s a shame he is stuck singing such dreck.

  13. I find the critique on this song to be ridiculous and just another malicious hit on Luke Bryan. This song is in fact sexy and beautiful. I enjoy listening to Luke Bryan and isn’t this the number one hit now? Indeed…it is!

  14. To: Country Lady, your critique of the review is ridiculous. You can disagree with the review but to suggest that a review should follow the charts is ridiculous. The measure of a good song is not measured by how well it sells. Just look at the tons of #1’s over the decades, and you will see that most #1’s are forgotten. This song is mediocre at best and I am so glad that I see readers of this site that just don’t blindly follow music executives on what they will listen to and consider good music.

  15. Do you know how many dear friends he lost? His “Drink a Beer” is about the way he felt. He could have been much more soulful. Losing friends can certainly do that, Luke.
    (I started listening to real country music from Rosalie Allen’s(whoever heard of her?) “Prairie Stars” in 1948.)

  16. Tom P Perhaps this is just something that you cannot relate to? The song is about two people in love whose passion has somewhat died….and they are trying to get that intimacy back. I liked this song long before it became a number one hit! I’ve listened to country music since I was a child in the 60’s and 70’s. That’s all my father every listened to. I know good country music, so please don’t assume that you know what’s best for everyone. Just decide what’s good for yourself.

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