Florida Georgia Line is a Pop/Country duo from Nashville, Tennessee. They debuted on Republic Records in 2012 with Here’s to the Good Times. The double platinum LP attempted to meld elements of radio and stadium country with a few very basic qualities of rap and hip-hop. From here, they would release two more studio records-Anything Goes in 2014 and Dig Your Roots in 2016-each going platinum.
Despite what their success may imply, FGL is a bit of a polarizing act in the country music scene. The success which artists like Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell have found by calling back to a simpler, more raw form of country music has created something of a backlash against the bulk of modern country. A growing movement of purists and critics attack the duo, and many others like them, for their abandonment of more traditionally country qualities like organic instrumentation, thoughtful lyricism, and emotive vocal performances. Instead, the modern country movement, often referred to as “stadium country,” focuses are more relatable topics like drinking and women, while incorporating elements of other popular genre’s in an attempt to gain crossover success. FGL is far from the first act to do this and many of the purist criticisms tend to be a bit idealistic, but to some extent the group does present a particularly egregious form of this departure from tradition. The detractors of Florida Georgia Line continue to grow louder and if you count yourself, as I do, among their numbers, this EP will do little to change your mind.
The project opens with promising with the first five seconds of “Simple.” The genuine acoustic guitar and whistling lead is somewhat promising, if a bit behind the times. After only a single progression, however, Tylar Hubbard’s nasally voice cuts through delivering a mad libs of cheesy compliments and gimmicky turns of phrase. There’s little to note after this. The track is boring and remarkably predictable from start to finish, with a relatively inoffensive track made unlistenable by vocal performances and lyricism that sound like an outsider creating a parody of a country song.
Following the opener, we’re given easily the best track on the EP, “Colorado,” which I may even tentatively call bearable, though I think my opinion on this may change after the inevitable three month period in which this track will smother every radio within earshot. The vocals are no better here, and this time their backed by atrocious trap drums. However, a few of the lyrics could be generously called clever.
Sadly, the track that follows may just dethrone Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” as the most horrific song of the year. “Talk You Out of It,” sounds like a computer program wrote a country song. There isn’t one line, melody, or idea in this entire three minutes which is even remotely interesting and very few songs feel like as much of a waste of time as this one.
The closer and lead single for the upcoming LP is “Sittin’ Pretty.” Again, little of note, aside from a few cringe-worthy lyrics and yet another underwhelming vocal performance. FGL attempts something of a rap on the verses here and it’s about as good as it sounds. Just a forgettable final chapter in a boring EP.
A small part of me warned that I shouldn’t even listen to this EP, and now a much larger part of me wishes I never had. Yet again, Florida Georgia Line provides absolutely nothing of substance, and fills time with predictable, formulaic pop-country. I thank the merciful lord above that this EP was fairly light on “rapping,” but there is still plenty to dislike and virtually no saving grace.
There is a lot of great country music being made at present by several very talented artists, but this EP isn’t that.
HEAR FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE: https://open.spotify.com/album/7gRkSSpLMUqlCbCvZIC4hT