After their recent chart success with Bebe Rexha came to an end, Florida Georgia Line are back with a brand new album called Can’t Say I Ain’t Country… well gents people can say that and they are doing but lets take a look shall we at the album as a whole and see why this group, who has been incredibly successful in the genre of Country, divide opinion amongst Country fans? The album is quite unusual, it has 19 tracks, 4 of which are skits, 5 have already been released as singles. So the first Skit leads into the title track nicely, lyrically it mentions all the calling cards of Country and this is set to your typical country instrumentation with a pedal steel being very prominent throughout the song, I love a good pedal Steel but it feels a little in your face at times. I love the Banjo in Simple, the song which got to number 1 at Country Radio and number 2 on the Hot Country charts, it has a foot stomping kind of beat to it and the melody is an ear worm again both the first and second song ends abruptly, you don’t expect it.
Then we hear what people are talking about for the first time really, in Talk You Out Of It we hear drum machines and the melody could fit into a different genre box however they’re not the first and wont be the last to use this in Country music, and again we have some kind of pedal steel or slide guitar which helps keep the subtle country element to the song. Then we go to another Skit which again Brother Jervel introduces the notion of the next song, Speed of Love. This is a fast paced song, it feels like their version of Devil Went Down to Georgia, the structure and even the way he sings/says the verses, the production is quite a bit busier though and once again we have a sudden end to the song. Then we hear the new entry on this weeks chart Women featuring Jason Derulo the Country music fan in me likes this song but the Journalist in me wants to shout “it’s been done before!” So I’m conflicted, take the song on face value it’s got a good melody and a positive message, I do like a good waltz to hammer home the emotion of a song but we’ve heard it in Female by Keith Urban, it seems to be the trend now to say how great women and females are but it can start to feel like a jump onto the band wagon and I’m afraid to say in FGL’s case, one of the most bro-country groups going, it doesn’t feel all that believable. Oh and hey Country music, the only way to show your appreciation for women is by giving them air time!
Then we come to one of my favourites on the album, People Are Different, they sing fast on the verses, almost rap but the lyrics are great, it’s co-written by Hillary Lindsey so it’s no wonder the lyrics are on top form and again it’s got a good message! Then we have another 6/8 song, Told You features a very rhythmic melody. Again the production very much solidifies it’s country sound. We have another Skit followed by Y’all Boys, there’s a couple of my favourite writers involved in this song including Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley which probably explains the unusual but catchy melody in the chorus. Then we have the typical country song theme, Small Town, what I like about this is that all the lyrics are your typical Country stereotypes but the melodies steal from Pop and there is some rap in there too, I think this song is really well done and sums up Florida Georgia Line’s sound - primarily Country but taking influence from other popular genres.
Can’t Hide Red features Jason Aldean and this is a great collaboration I think, again it’s going with the theme of the album title, saying about the Country way they were raised. Colorado is another ear worm you can imagine their fans belting this out at concerts and festivals with their arms in the air especially if they’re from Colorado or Tennessee as it mentions both in the chorus. The lyrics are kinda clever at the very end of the chorus. Like You Never had It is quite sparse lyrically but what it lacks in lyrical content makes up for in the busy production and hook. Swerve is definitely leaning more towards the Pop in Country Pop whilst the final track Blessings is leaning very much the other way. This song is perhaps the best on the whole record, it’s beautiful, the production is just right, the pedal steel does it’s job well. The lyrics are just beautiful “You always saw the blue skies past the rain clouds in my eyes” and with co-writers Tom Douglas (Make Him Wait, The House That Built Me) and Jesse Frasure it’s no surprise how strong this song is.
On social media I saw a comment which said you shouldn’t have to put the genre in a song or album title for people to know what they’re listening to. Sure enough they’re a band who like to push the boundaries and draw influence from other genres but with their southern drawls, storytelling lyrics, and pedal steels left, right and centre, if Florida Georgia Line “ain’t Country” what are they?