Can’t say it ain’t bad: a review on Florida Georgia Line’s new album


FGL band members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley.

Evelyn Bailey

On Friday, Feb. 15, Florida Georgia Line (FGL) released their fourth album, “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country,” in an attempt to prove to their critics that—despite common misconceptions—they are true country artists. Their 14-song album, a mix of pop and country, features various artists including Jason Derulo and Jason Aldean. Derulo also sang in “Cruise,” one of the duo’s most popular songs in the summer of 2012, adding an old take on their new album. The album is an ode to what it’s like growing up in the South and what “country” means to FGL, with a fresh perspective on the genre.

For about eight years, country fans and critics have argued that the FGL duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard don’t produce real country, with a sound teetering between classic country and pop. However, others argue that the duo is simply reflective of a new form of country music, known as “bro-country.”

Bro-country is a subcategory of country music that infuses hip-hop and rap, commonly highlighting motifs like the party life and what it is like to be in love. FGL creates this combination of bro-country and flow through the duo’s unique deep and hoarse voices in “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country” and past albums like “Dig Your Roots.”

“Can’t Say I Ain’t Country” begins with the song “Tyler Got Him a Tesla [Skit],” which features a voicemail from Brother Jervel, an underground artist with a thick country accent. This quirky skit tells the story of churchgoers gossiping about Hubbard of FGL’s new Tesla. The voicemail addresses concerns that FGL has lost their country touch, manifested in the trade-in of Hubbard’s truck for a new Tesla. This voicemail is a satirical way of jabbing back at critics to prove that the duo is still real country—albeit bro-country.

Jervel reappears in the album with funny interludes in “All Gas No Breaks,” “Sack’a Puppies” and “Catfish Nuggets.” The amusing setup of “Tyler Got Him a Tesla [Skit]” feels like an inside joke between friends—at first laughable for the people who get it, but after “Sack’a Puppies,” the constant interludes begin to feel pointless and redundant.

Although FGL has nailed every chorus since “Cruise,” sometimes they verge on sounding too mainstream and commercialized, which is my biggest critique of this album. FGL claims that they are “just country boys,” but still fall into the mold of every other pop and bro-country artist with a few auto-tuned songs in their past albums, disproving their authenticity. The most generic song of the album is “Colorado,” which is undeniably catchy, but still too ordinary that tells a story of his friends in different states which sounds pointless and is the downfall of bro-country. This song lacks a deeper meaning and becomes monotonous through the repetition of the lyrics, “I got a friend from Colorado, I got a friend from Tennessee,” making it seem like a campfire song, something everybody could sing if they knew just about 10 words which is fun once in a while but not a song that offers anything new or revolutionary to the music industry.

However, not all of their songs are complete disappointments. A personal favorite of mine is “Can’t Hide Red” by FGL and featuring Aldean. It creates a memorable chorus that expresses how country is in everything they do, from the way they talk to the way they walk, proudly showcases their southern roots.

Another top song from the album is “Women” by FGL and featuring Derulo, which follows a slower tempo. “Women” gives thanks to all women in the world and sounds pop through the instruments used and shows FGL experimenting with a pop style song. “Blessings” serves as a reminder to “always take time to count your blessings” and gives thanks to both of the bandmates’ wives. Once again, FGL successfully dips their toes into the pop genre with the intro to “Blessings” before segueing into their classic rock-country sound, complete with raspy vocals and strong guitar riffs.

The structure of the album appears very intentional, starting with the first track “Tyler Got Him A Tesla [Skit]” and concluding with “Blessings,” staying true to the purpose of the album—giving appreciation to what the young duo has and acknowledging their own blessings, especially the country culture they’ve fostered in their music. FGL has undeniable talent and this album showcases their ability to functionally mesh two styles and dominate the genre of bro-country. Although the voicemails from Jervel were eye-roll worthy after the first skit, and a few of the songs sound too pop, this album stays true to its name maintaining its country roots but straying in sound to bro-country.