Luke Bryan – “Do I”
Songwriters: Luke Bryan, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley
If saying “I do” is the ultimate romantic gesture, then asking “Do I?” is its inverse—a romantic ultimatum. This new single from Luke Bryan’s upcoming sophomore album, Doin’ My Thing, concerns the gradual loss of passion in a relationship, culminating in a worried chorus that asks some pretty tough questions: “Do I turn you on at all when I kiss you, baby,” Bryan sings. “Do I have your love? Am I still enough?”
There’s nothing sordid or glamorous about those questions, which the Georgia native co-wrote with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. Rather, the scenario is all the more affecting for its mundanity. Every couple gets to this point in their relationship. Some work through it. Others don’t. “Do I” implies no hint of a happily ever after, and that ambiguity gives the lyrics extra impact.
Bryan’s performance implies very little, however. He’s a capable singer of upbeat songs like “All My Friends Say” and even on a nostalgic anthem such as “We Rode in Trucks,” which showcases a confident voice with a strange tone that occasionally threatens to morph into an ungainly honk. That vocal quality makes his more rock-oriented material sound excitable and catchy, especially on his iTunes-only EP Spring Break With All My Friends.
On “Do I,” he nails the melody technically, but never quite conveys much desperation or despair. There’s no worry in his voice, nor does it sound like he’s trying to keep a stoic front. Instead, he sounds slightly removed from the predicament he’s describing, which seems just beyond his dramatic range.
Musically, “Do I” trades in some of the more traditional country elements that distinguished his debut for a fairly bland rock-ballad arrangement. But Hillary Scott’s backing vocals stand out for their soulfulness–so much so that the Lady Antebelum singer should consider recording a cover–and an elegant fiddle sails through the verses creating an appropriately melancholy mood. These are the highlights of an otherwise half-hearted performance of a broken-hearted song.
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