Florida-Georgia Line churns out a low-risk album
There’s something to be said about loyalty — loyalty to loved ones, loved places, loved things. From Ancient Greece (Damon and Pythias) to contemporary United States (pick your poison, Russell Westbrook is mine), we humans have celebrated loyalty for at least as long as we’ve been able to record history. It’s a big part of why call dogs our best friends.
This seems to be what country duo Florida-Georgia Line was after with their third full-length album “Dig Your Roots,” which Big Machine Label Group released today: loyalty. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to sink your teeth into. The album is a catchy, impeccablyproduced, frustratingly onenote effort.
Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard rose to superstar- Florida-Georgia Line’s new album reveals a somewhat more mature Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, but fails to do more than offer catchy hooks and occasionally nice sentiments.
dom less than five years ago on the power of the anthemic “Cruise,” and haven’t slowed down since. Today, for better or worse, they sit near the very top of the country genre.
In recent years, they and
the quote-unquote bro-country genre into which they’re often placed have received a fair share of criticism for formulaic songwriting and objectifying women, and there is something to think about there. Florida-Georgia Line has never pretended to be anything else, and their millions of fans don’t seem to mind. The rest of us, however, may want to consider the consequences of reducing women to bikini tops in songs.
Thankfully, “Dig Your Roots” captures a somewhat more refined Kelley and Hubbard. There’s still plenty of sexual storytelling (like on “Island,” “Summerland” and “Heatwave”), but now it’s overpowered by more emotional love ballads. Both men are married now and apparently growing into older selves. The band’s lead single “H.O.L.Y.,” which has racked up 63 million views on YouTube since April, takes the feel of a contemporary Christian worship song and re-directs it to a human lover, somewhat like a suburban dad joke.
Some of the sentiments on the album are genuinely nice. Lyrics on the title track, for example, include “I’m so proud of where I came from / This town is who I am / And the way that I was raised up / Made me a better man.” Maybe one of Florida-Georgia Line’s most important social roles on this album is to encourage hometown pride.
Aesthetically, it’s easy to listen to this album. From beginning to end, it’s tightly produced and incredibly smooth. With some 30 songwriters listed for the 15 tracks, it’s thorough. There are no glaring mistakes.
But that’s the problem with pop music — scores of people working on an album does not guarantee an exciting, artistically-progressive creation. Sometimes it just solidifies commercial viability. “Dig Your Roots” is more of the latter.