Luke Laird is the man behind any of the hits you’ll hear on the radio dial these days, but if you look further, you’ll realize there’s more to Laird than just the smashes. Here are five Laird co-writes you should really check out.
If you liked “Drinks After Work” performed by Toby Keith
You’ll love “Call Me Up” performed by Thomas Rhett
“Call Me Up” is everything that “Drinks After Work” should have been. Where the Toby Keith hit misses the mark is because it tries too hard, too many production tricks making it come across as cluttered. “Call Me Up” keeps it simple, with charming guitar riffs and Rhett’s goofy charisma pulling everything together. Is it a lyrical revolution? No, it isn’t. Basically the narrator wants this girl to call him if she’s lonely. It’s been done stronger from a lyrical standpoint by Luke Bryan with “Crash My Party” and Cole Swindell with “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” but neither of those tunes are nearly as fun as Rhett’s, and neither are quite as clever. “Call Me Up” is well worth a listen, whether you liked Toby’s effort or not.
If you liked “A Little Bit Stronger” performed by Sara Evans
You’ll love “Shut Up Train” performed by Little Big Town
The only issue I have with the Sara Evans smash “A Little Bit Stronger” was the slightly overproduced chorus, but other than that it was a strong effort. Little Big Town one upped Evans by stripping down their heartbreak ballad, while maintaining the elements that made “A Little Bit Stronger” work. Karen Fairchild delivers the song with the perfect amount of angst and sorrow so it doesn’t come off as cheesy, and the lyric itself conveys those same emotions. Throw in their always spectacular harmonies in the chorus, and you have a real winner. You’ve got to check this one out.
If you liked “Baggage Claim” performed by Miranda Lambert
You’ll love “Step Off” performed by Kacey Musgraves
Thematically, these songs are pretty different. Lambert’s talks about baggage an unfaithful man may carry and comparing it to airport baggage, whereas Musgraves’ centers around the topic of getting off your high horse and acting like you’re better than everybody. Both are solid, clever lyrical compositions in their own ways, and both certainly play to the strengths of their respective performers. So if you liked the Miranda hit, you’ll certainly love “Step Off” which is in my opinion, the strongest track off Musgraves’ critically acclaimed debut project.
If you liked “Give Me Back My Hometown” performed by Eric Church
You’ll love “I See You” performed by Luke Bryan
How to write a haunting love gone wrong song. Both of these sterling efforts possess a lyric about an ex haunting the narrator, executed with an amount of detail that keeps the listener engaged. Both the hook and melody are accessible, making them hold up after repeated listens, and the vocalists (Church and Bryan) convey an abundance of heartbreak to really sell it. This is a case where two A-list acts got it very, very right.
If you liked “Beat This Summer” performed by Brad Paisley
You’ll love “Over When It’s Over” performed by Eric Church
The similarities between these two Laird co-writes go beyond the punchy melody and crisp, unique production. Lyrically, the two songs follow the script of a breakup, without becoming overly depressing. Church’s outstanding album cut isn’t resentful, it’s just the narrator accepting the breakup, and saying “it’s over when it’s over, ain’t it baby ain’t it,” and Church sings it with an “oh well” laid back-ness to his performance. Paisley’s on the other hand, is a about a lost summer love, but is similar to Church’s because of the acceptance of the relationship ending, and not really getting to worked about it. Two excellent cuts.