Luke Bryan performs onstage during the 2023 iHeartCountry Festival presented by Capital One at Moody Center on May 13, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (
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20 Luke Bryan Songs That Prove His Career Longevity and Creative Range

Luke Bryan's musical depth has brought us more than an endless party playlist.

Luke Bryan's story in country music has been one of longevity. He reached the Top 5 of the country charts with debut mainstream single "All My Friends Say" (2007) and remains as relevant as ever over 15 years later.

Granted, some of his early success came from his voice, song selection and public image suiting the "bro-country" moment. Yet just like fellow Georgia natives Jason Aldean and Tyler Hubbard, his broad appeal outlived that polarizing era of country airplay.

Regarding that voice, one of Bryan's strong suits is that high, nasal baritone delivery that keeps even the most casual country and pop fans from asking, "Wait, who sings this again?" As for song selection, Bryan and his team have sprinkled enough sentimentality among the party tunes that while you may know the singer well, the song doesn't always remain the same. Lastly, Bryan's among the best at using platforms beyond country music, from American Idol to social media, to land fans outside of country radio's target audience.

These and more elements have kept his career soaring. Here are his 20 best songs so far.

20. "Home Alone Tonight" (feat. Karen Fairchild) (2015)

CONCORD, CA - OCTOBER 17: Luke Bryan performs during the 'That's My Kind of Night' tour at the Concord Pavilion on October 17, 2014 in Concord, California.

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"Home Alone Tonight" could only exist in this century — right here, right now. Bryan perfectly captures the emotions that many members of the technology generation go through in search of romance. Sometimes, that includes hooking up with someone at a bar and vengefully sending a picture of your newly found acquaintance to your ex. Listen here.

19. "Someone Else Calling You Baby" (2009)

MANHATTAN, KS - JUNE 25: Recording Artist Luke Bryan performs during Country Stampede 2009 at Tuttle Creek State Park on June 25, 2009 in Manhattan, Kansas.

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This single from the 2009 album Doin' My Thing is a hint at the many breakup anthems to come. "Someone Else" seems sadder than all the others, though. Maybe it's the pain of not knowing how someone else feels about you. Plus, that rock 'n' roll intro hits hard on every listen. Check it out here.

18. "We Rode in Trucks" (2007)

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 29: Singer/Songwriter Luke Bryan performs during the 5th annual Stars For Second Harvest concert at the Ryman Auditorium on September 29, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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A lot of Bryan's earliest mainstream material is more concerned with down-home values than partying and drinking. This single from I'll Stay Me highlights the good qualities of growing up in a small town — a modern country trope that Bryan's mastered. Listen here.

17. "But I Got a Beer in My Hand" (2023)

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 17: Luke Bryan performs during the "Country On Tour" at Budweiser Stage on June 17, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario.

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Bryan proved he's still got it — not that he needed validation from fans — with this 2023 single. It's got lyrical elements of Bryan standards, but the backing track plays into the rocking Brooks & Dunn nostalgia that's become commonplace in Nashville. Listen here.

16. "Do I" (2009)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 09: Luke Bryan performs at the 45th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 9, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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One of Bryan's strongest vocal performances came with this love ballad he co-wrote with Lady A's Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley. Lady A's Hillary Scott on harmony vocals added a sense of requited love to this wedding playlist must-add. Listen here.

15. "Light It Up" (2017)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 01: Singer Luke Bryan speaks during the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards host press conference at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Bryan's a high-tech redneck on this one. Like many of us, our lead character is constantly glued to their phone. That's in part because they're anxiously checking for return texts or voicemails from an aloof love interest. Plus, it's one of the best guitar rock showpieces in Bryan's catalog. Listen here.

14. "What Makes You Country" (2017)

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Not to be confused with Bryan's "What Country Is," "What Makes You Country" addresses tried arguments about country "authenticity." As this song puts it, country — be it the music, the lifestyle or the state of mind — means different things to different people. That's a good thing, as it opens many creative doors for Bryan and his go-to songwriters. Listen to this take on what country is here.

13. "Knockin' Boots" (2019)

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 15: Luke Bryan performs during the inaugural 2019 Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival at Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Expo Center on September 15, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Though it's silly at times ("Friday nights to do what Friday needs to do, that's the truth"), this one's got a lot of heart. It's easy to listen and imagine someone like Bryan — a guy with a cornball sense of humor and a gentle heart — serenading you without masking their personality. Listen here.

12. "Strip It Down" (2015)

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 12: Luke Bryan performs at "Georgia on My Mind, hosted by the Peach Pickers and Friends," a benefit for the Georgia Music Foundation at the Ryman Auditorium on May 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Georgia Music Foundation

The aptly titled "Strip It Down" shreds high-energy stadium country elements, giving way to piano accompaniment and slick pop production techniques in a way that makes Bryan less of a country Casanova and more of a smooth R&B crooner with a Georgia accent — if only for four minutes. In the process, it proves his range as a vocalist. Listen here.

11. "That's My Kind of Night" (2013)

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06: Luke Bryan performs during the 2013 CMA Music Festival on June 6, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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As much a textbook example of "bro-country" as "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," "That's My Kind of Night" leans into the themes and sounds of country radio circa 2013. It's worth revisiting if only because it's basically a mile marker in country music's 100-year flirtation with pop accessibility. Listen here.


10. "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)" (2011)

Up Luke Bryan

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This was the first single from Tailgates & Tanlines, and "Country Girl" established Bryan as the king of country party jams. The love song's still a crowd favorite no matter where Bryan goes, ever since that eye- and ear-grabbing live performance at the 2011 CMT Music Awards.

Bryan wrote the tune with Dallas Davidson, a member of the Peach Pickers songwriter trio alongside Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins. Listen here.

9. "One Margarita" (2020)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: Country artist Luke Bryan performs at the Grand Ole Opry House on October 22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Sometimes, you just want to hear a fun drinking song at the lake or a backyard BBQ. Bryan provides that with this pop-country chart-topper, with tropical vibes as well as Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett name-drops. Listen here.

8. "Play It Again" (2013)

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 08: Musician Luke Bryan performs onstage during Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night presented by the Academy of Country Music at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kevin Winter/ACMA2013/Getty Images for ACM

This one's proof positive that a song about a nameless woman at a tailgate party can still offer heart and substance. Indeed, what's sweeter than discovering "our song" as soon as sparks start to fly, much less having your new significant other learn said song on guitar? Listen here.

7. "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" (2017)

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A classic boy-meets-girl story that's set over summer break, "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" has multiple elements that set Bryan's best songs apart from the pack — from tinges of banjo accompaniment to a story that's relatable to quite a few country music festivalgoers with romance on their minds. Listen here.

6."Take My Drunk Ass Home" (2013)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 09: Luke Bryan performs onstage at the 45th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 9, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin/WireImage

"Take My Drunk Ass Home" is quintessential Bryan. It comes from one of his many Spring Break mixes, which highlight typical Bryanian subject matter such as partying on the beach, drinking on the beach and hooking up on the beach. This one just might be the most fun one of the bunch. And in the end, that's all Bryan is trying to accomplish — he just wants everyone to have some fun. Listen here.

5. "Rain is a Good Thing" (2009)

MANHATTAN, KS - JUNE 25: Recording Artist Luke Bryan performs during Country Stampede 2009 at Tuttle Creek State Park on June 25, 2009 in Manhattan, Kansas.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

One of the first songs that catapulted Bryan into the spotlight, "Rain Is a Good Thing" showcased his upbeat sound early on. Partying, farming and hometown nostalgia — the elements are all there. Plus, how can you not adore its music video? Listen here.

4. "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day" (2015)

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 02: Luke Bryan performs onstage during the 2015 "CMT Artists of the Year" at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on December 2, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

From its guitar hooks to its nostalgic, down-home themes, this one comes across as a straight-up Alabama homage. That's not a bad thing by any stretch. It takes the country living themes driving most of Bryan's biggest hits and recasts them through a more mature lens. In the process, it feels like we're getting Bryan's real take on everything from chugging beers to praising God — revelations not watered down to make us smile and dance. Listen here.

3. "Build Me a Daddy" (2020)

ARRINGTON, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 21: In this image released on October 21, Luke Bryan performs onstage at the Sycamore Barn in Arrington, Tennessee for the 2020 CMT Awards broadcast on Wednesday October 21, 2020.

Jason Kempin/CMT2020/Getty Images for CMT

Though it wasn't a single during Bryan's 2019-21 run of five straight country radio N0. 1s, Born Here Live Here Die Here album cut "Build Me a Daddy" outshines the field because it's a deeply sentimental song, Randy Travis style, that's the best showcase of Bryan's sensitive side. Listen here.

2. "Drink a Beer" (2013)

ORANGE BEACH, AL - MARCH 14: Luke Bryan performs at The Amphitheater at the Wharf on March 14, 2013 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

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One of Bryan's more deceptive singles, this Chris Stapleton co-write sounds as if it's going to be yet another drinking song until the chorus hits. Then you realize it's all about grief and loss as Bryan accesses the melancholy tinge that's become a hallmark in his music. Listen here.

1. "Most People are Good" (2017)

Luke Bryan attends virtual radio row during the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on September 14, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM

As Bryan and other "bro-country" notables have gotten older, they've grown more introspective — about both their hometown pasts and their present states as spouses and parents. In one of the best examples of a rowdy friend settling down, Bryan sings of a glass that's half full — without telling us what type of mixed drink he's sipping. Bonus points for the line "I believe you love who you love/ Ain't nothing you should ever be ashamed of." Listen here.

This post was originally published in February 2016 and last updated in July 2023.

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