What Luke Bryan's For A Boat Is Really About

In many ways, the music of Luke Bryan hasn't changed much from his Doin' My Thing days in 2009. But his newest album, Born Here Live Here Die Here, feels more of-the-times, even if that wasn't the initial intention. In fact, it's really the perfect quarantine soundtrack, with Bryan himself admitting, "I have been riding around in my truck listening to it during quarantine." (via News Lagoon) While the album release was pushed back from April to August due to the virus, the lyrics in these new songs sound like meditations on why the quarantine lifestyle isn't so bad, with strong themes of being proud of your hometown and not feeling the need to leave; something that likely strikes a chord with all of us right now.

In particular, the song "For a Boat" expresses these ideas in a clear but powerful metaphor of a kid who dreams of having a boat, while his father reminds him that there are more important things than trying to get to all of the places that you're not.

For a Boat's lyrics are about life lessons

The song starts out explaining all the lessons the singer has learned from fishing on the bank of a river with his dad: "From gettin' up early, comin' up empty / And good things come to those that wait." (lyrics via Genius). Then, in the chorus, Bryan sings, "I remember thinkin', wouldn't it be cool / To have an old flat bottom and an Evinrude?" which, for those of us not familiar, is a fishing boat and a brand of motor 

He continues: "And Daddy saying, 'Son, don't they bite just fine right here?'" referring to the fish, and the fact that anything he could really hope to find down the river is probably not better than what is right in front of him. In the song, the singer's father goes on to teach him, "Love what you got, buddy, not what you ain't." And the singer acknowledges that he's right, and the dream of taking off down the river disappears. 

However, it's the last lines of the chorus that really cement the feeling. "I grew up pretty lucky as far as lucky goes / Too broke for a boat." In a world where so much emphasis is placed on earning money and getting out of a small town to accomplish big things, this sentiment of feeling lucky that you can't afford a boat is a refreshing change. 

For a Boat is about finding the secret to happiness

The song continues, highlighting the examples set by the singer's father: "He could've picked up an extra shift / Or a weekend at the factory / But every Sunday was saved for Jesus / And Saturdays, he spent with me." If this sounds a little old-fashioned, it may be because so many of us are caught up in the rush of modern life. 

It's interesting to note that people who live in small towns and rural areas are significantly happier than those who live in big cities with high population densities, according to The Washington Post. If that's not an endorsement of the country music lifestyle, and the themes of "For a Boat" specifically, nothing is. But that's not to say you need to move to a tiny town. Bryan's lyrics seem to be suggesting that we should focus on the present and try to feel happy, thankful, and proud of wherever we may be.