“Gettin’ Old” has gotten me thinking about what’s important in life, and because of that, Luke Combs should feel satisfied. 

The two current biggest country music stars, Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs, both released albums in the month of March; Wallen on the 3rd and Combs on the 24th, with his fourth studio album, “Gettin’ Old.” Both Wallen and Combs’s careers took off these past six years, providing each other with constant friendly competition

I reviewed Wallen’s 36-track album as soon as it was released, but as I simmered on it, I realized I had missed a few key notes. Thus, I have taken time to fully study Combs’s “Gettin’ Old.” Its mature, sentimental themes make Combs feel like a middle aged old soul compared to the bro-country style of never-growing-old Wallen. 

“Gettin’ Old” is different from anything Combs has done. Because of this, Combs was nervous about the reception.

I’ll be honest, “Gettin’ Old” bored me and felt generic at times. Still, I think these tracks are necessary to give Combs a sophisticated well-roundedness. Additionally, the album has a true country sound that is still fitting for the mainstream. 

The Boyfriend Country Songs 

Boyfriend country, a trend that consists of sappy romance, is not overly present on “Gettin’ Old.” Previous songs from Combs such as “Forever After All,” “Better Together” and “Beautiful Crazy” reigned in the wedding playlists of young lovers. However, this album gives the boyfriend country genre only three new additions. 

While not a traditional love song, “You Found Yours” is one of my favorites. It sets a theme of gratitude for the album as the track describes what it’s like to find destined blessings such as a dog or a spouse. Because of the message in “You Found Yours,” I have found myself humming this sweet little tune in moments of joy. 

The storytelling in it is very down to earth yet very visual. This is encapsulated in the line “She was an answer to an ol’ boy’s prayer / Way out of your league, but you didn’t care,” and in the opening line “Remy was a pit mix, she was just skin and bones / Daddy found in a deep ditch on his way home.” 

“Still” is another one you may sing if you have a “main character moment.” It’s a folky tune that really gets your heart beating and butterflies twirling while simultaneously making the world move in slow motion. It’s all about enduring love and is perfect for any stage in a relationship. 

My new all time favorite by Combs might just be, “5 Leaf Clover.” It’s a perfect push from country radio to a more traditional country sound while still appealing to a wide audience. With the twirling, fiddle-filled, chorus-carrying remnants of Wallen’s “’98 Braves,” it’s no wonder I’ve kept this one on repeat. It was the first song on “Gettin’ Old” that I wished was longer. 

Combs co-wrote “5 Leaf Clover” after his friend found a five leaf clover — a one in one million chance. This was the muse for the line, “I’ve hit my knees thankful as can be / But the one thing I can’t get over / Is how’d a guy like me who’d a been fine with three / Wind up with a five leaf clover.” 

There’s a sense of irony in the lyrics’ theme of providence and the luckiness that clovers are associated with. For me, this song is a beautiful reminder of just how big God’s plans can be. Faith has always been intertwined in country music, but this tune takes it one step further: it feels like a praise song for all of the good things God has given. 

The Heartbreak Country Songs

I have a theory that due to the popularity of Wallen’s sad music, “heartbreak country” (a genre title yet to be officially coined) will replace boyfriend country. This could be why “Gettin’ Old” is full of heavy tracks. The most gut-wrenching one being “Where the Wild Things Are” and the most Wallen sound-alike has to go to “Joe,” about a man’s attachment to the bottle. 

There were three tracks that really stood out to me in this category. Firstly, the opening of “The Beer, The Band, and the Barstool” immediately pandered to my love of 80s and 90s country. On top of that, it’s pretty lyrics, such as “He hopes she’d stay, but always knew she’d leave” make even heartache feel better. 

“Love You Anyway” stole my breath away. It perfectly captures the bittersweet feeling of falling in love, knowing it could leave you devastated and yet forever changed. “If it took one look to turn my days to night / At least I’d have the stars, the sparkle in your eyes,” and “I know just tryin’ to write a song / I run the risk that I could get your perfect wrong,” are wonderful gems in this song. 

Taking the third spot, the imagery of “Tattoo on a Sunburn” made me squirm, but I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this one. The chorus seems to pay homage to the laid back talking/singing style of country singer Scotty McCreery. Additionally, the way Combs’s voice glides through the runs makes it an easy summer listen. 

As pleasant as listening to “Tattoo on a Sunburn” is, it stirs up different emotions. “It’s covered up with some new ink now / And the rest of the world ain’t got a clue about / The name of a girl that I ain’t seen since that day,” Combs sings. This pointedly expresses the joys of having moved on from a first love, but also the weird feeling of something so permanent, hardly mattering anymore at all.

To conclude this heartbreak section, I must say I felt this was the category where things got dull. The arrangements were original, but I couldn’t feel the heartbreak in them like I can in Wallen’s songs. 

Other Country

There’s a lot of detailed storytelling in “Gettin’ Old” that doesn’t fit into a specific genre. The rest of the highlights I will include here. 

The list would not be complete without the opening track, “Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old. The song unites Combs’s preceding studio album, “Growin’ Up,” to its sequel, “Gettin’ Old.” 

Geniously, in its production, parts of “Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old” feel rowdy, like a runaway teenager. Then in other moments, Combs seems to be settled down into his new stage of life. The melody and lyrics battle between embracing being young and old. (Hence why Combs concludes he is in “the middle of growin’ up and gettin’ old.”) 

The following track, “Hannah Ford Road,” doesn’t resonate with me personally, but on a critical level it’s quite a bop. In this fast-paced tempo, there could be temptation for Combs to try too hard to show off his vocals — yet he doesn’t. Because of this, he demonstrates natural control. 

I also have to mention “Back 40 Back,” a song about mourning the “used to be’s.” Personally, the pre-chorus lyric is special to me: “For sale by owner sign on Highway 59 / A signal of the times, a turning of the page / There used to be nothing here / But that nothing disappeared.” 

Right away, this makes me think of my dad, who everytime we drive past an “acres for sale” sign, he has to pull over to video the last sight of the land. So, admittedly, “Back 40 Back” might not be universally relatable. However, its simple and eloquent melody, fit for a children’s choir, will have you reminiscing on the good old days.

The closing track, “The Part,” may not be in my top three, but it really fascinates me. In this song, Combs seems to depict how his success has hurt his wife. This ends the album on a bit of a sour, almost eerie note. Yet the melody strangely reminds me of “Forever After All,” which is about how Combs’s marriage will be one of the few things that lasts forever. 

“Forever After All,” is also the closing track on the album “What You See Ain’t Always What You Get,” which, interestingly, like “Gettin’ Old, serves as sequel album to its predecessor. (All of Combs’s studio albums so far have been connected to a sequel)

To return to my point, my conspiracy theory is that “Forever After All” is the answer to “The Part.” In the context of “The Part,” “Forever After All” seems to express that though life on the road can be tough on a marriage, Combs and his wife will prevail forever. I could be way off, but seeing the intentionality Combs has had in the creation of this album, perhaps the two seemingly opposite songs are connected. 


At 19, I don’t know if this album makes me feel like I’m all grown up or if I’m still in the stage that Combs is reflecting back on. Regardless, this album makes me want to savor each moment. I think these songs have had an impact on me, and I will be returning to them frequently. 

Lastly, although “Gettin’ Old” may drag on a bit, Combs has given the world a needed balance to the poppier country sound of singers like Wallen. It’s wonderful to see how all of the forerunners of country music have been breaking trends and bringing their own personalities to the radio. With this, it will continue to be an exciting time in country music.