It’s been a while since we last wrote a review on a Country album, so what better time than the present to dip our toes into that old, but familiar water? You know you missed drinking that Jack Daniel’s old no.7 while reading so we are here to please. With that, Florida Georgia Line’s debut full-length album, Here’s To The Good Times has just been released and is the perfect choice for this week’s review. After meeting at Belmont University, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley began penning songs together, followed by the release of several EP’s. With a track that is already garnering critical acclaim, will their album live up to all the hype? Take a double shot of those Country “Vitamins” and read on to find out!
The winter weather is upon us. That is, if you count a bitter chill of sixty degrees in Los Angeles. Sorry, New York, we got all the good weather. Even though the holiday season is upon us, Florida Georgia Line’s hit, “Cruise,” shows that summer is also a state of mind. Reaching the top spot on Hot Country Airplay this week, this infectious country hit satiates our desire to pop open a cold one on a hot Summer’s day, sit back into our chairs, and get that ever-sexy farmer’s tan.
Opening their debut album, Here’s To The Good Times, with “Cruise” is a great call, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Tyler and Brian’s vocals aren’t shy in starting things off. Harmonizing from the get-go, followed by a fun little electric guitar riff, it’s easy to see that this is a feel-good Country anthem that is going to be hard to dethrone. All of the typical instrumentation is there, with plucked banjo fill-ins to accompany the rhythm guitar as well as drums that help drive the record.
In the end though, the reason that this song is so saccharine to the ears is simple – it’s all about the melody. Not even listening to the words of the chorus, your head will be bopping up and down without your knowledge of even doing so. It flows so effortlessly and seamlessly that even a non-country fan has to respect how perfectly crafted a track it is. For those that do find themselves tuning to that Country station on the reg, however, these lyrics are a great representation of pure Country: “Baby you a song you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise/ Down a back road blowin’ stops signs through the middle every little farm town with you/In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit, it’ll look a hell of a lot better with you up in it/So baby you a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.” There is no denying that a lot of country songs do not translate at times, especially to a broader audience. When a song of this genre strikes gold, however, it strikes it big. “Cruise” is no exception to the rule.
Nothing gets a songwriter more excited than a great concept and “Tip It Back” is a prime example of such. What says you’re over the workweek and ready to let loose? Hubbard and Kelly would tell you those three special words – Tip it back. Each verse is equally as clever as the next, playing on the phrasing. Furthermore, it demonstrates how intriguing this group is as songwriter’s in their own right. Hubbard and Kelly in the 2nd verse write, “When that barkeep brings you change just tip it back/When you’re two steppin’ with your baby, man tip her back/When you don’t get paid for next week, but need some drinkin’ cash, find that coffee can stash and tip it back.” Even though the stereotypical themes of love and drinking are addressed, their ability to put an entirely different spin on it makes it a refreshing view on the subject matter. It’s a toast to the good times and something everyone feels at least once a week. The end of a long day or week should always be celebrated properly – “Whether it’s a cold beer, tequila, or a double shot of Jack.”
“Round Here,” “Here’s To The Good Times,” and “Hell Raisin’ Heat Of The Summer” are other top notch tracks that any Country enthusiast is sure to enjoy. Like Love and Left shook the music world with “Angel Eyes,” Florida Georgia Line seems to have taken note and wants a piece of the action. If anything, emerging country bands continue to show that they can go toe-to-toe with solo acts, making for quite the amicable camaraderie. Without a doubt, kick off those Cowboy boots (if you’ve got them) and check out Here’s To The Good Times. You won’t be disappointed. Until then, Druggernauts!!!