Florida Georgia Line have been ruling the Country charts since the release of their debut album Here’s to the Good Times in 2012. That album sold more than 2.3 million copies in the US alone and became the first of three chart toppers. Since then they’ve achieved another two Platinum albums with 2014’s Anything Goes and 2016’s Dig Your Roots. They’ve also notched up plenty of number ones including the monster hits Cruise featuring Nelly and Meant to Be with Bebe Rexha. Their most recent was Simple, the lead track from their fourth studio album Can’t Say I Ain’t Country.
Despite being one of the best-selling duos in Country music, Florida Georgia Line seem to make a lot of people pretty angry. They’ve been blamed for the bro Country phase of Country music, criticised for not being ‘Country enough’ and more recently come under fire for their track Women featuring Jason Derulo with claims that the song is lyrically tone deaf. When it was revealed that the name of the duo’s new album would be Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, detractors had a field day. Depending on which side of the fence you’re on you could call the title completely misguided or genius.
After listening through the 19-track record, two things become clear pretty quickly. Firstly Florida Georgia Line are more than happy to poke fun at themselves and secondly they don’t really care about the criticisms levelled at them. The album features skits with Brother Jervel, where the southerner defends the guys but it’s obviously all a little bit tongue-in-cheek and you know they’re in on the joke.
Can’t Say I Ain’t Country follows in the footsteps of Dig Your Roots in the sense that Florida Georgia Line continue to push the boundaries of their sound. While their first two albums had many soundalike tracks throughout, they switched things up for Dig Your Roots and I’m pleased to see that continuing here. Lead single Simple could be the most mature song they’ve released to date and it’s a lot folkier than anything we’ve heard from the duo before, and the title track embracing a more traditional Country sound than much of their previous work.
Songs such as Woman, which yes is a bit clumsy lyrically but it’s really not as bad as people are making out if you listen to the sentiment, and Talk You Out Of It lean more into the duo’s R&B influences. Those songs are never going to get the approval of the Country traditionalists but I don’t see why it’s a bad thing to step outside of your comfort zone and push your sound musically.
If it’s pure Country you’re after there’s plenty to find on this record. Speed of Love is a raucous drawl-heavy number, Y’all Boys featuring Hardy is a shimmering track with a catchy melody, and Sittin’ Pretty lets Brian take lead vocals rather than Tyler. Jason Aldean pops up on Can’t Hide Red, a song about not being able to escape your roots, and People Are Different is an attempt by the group to encourage fans to embrace the differences of others.
The standout track is the bluesy swing of Told You. It’s different sonically than the rest of the record and there’s a bit of a Keith Urban Blue Ain’t Your Color about it. The album throws a curveball with penultimate track Swerve, which is definitely more pop/R&B leaning, but album closer Blessings is an acoustic and raw track about being thankful for what you have.
Honestly I don’t really understand the level of hatred directed at Florida Georgia Line. If they aren’t your thing, turn off the radio or simply don’t listen to their music. It’s not that hard is it? Yes some of the lyrics are clunky but none of the music comes from a place of anything other than an attempt to be positive. Does every single album and song released need to be a masterpiece with a deep meaning? No it doesn’t but it should be enjoyable and put a smile on your face, and for me Can’t Say I Ain’t Country does exactly that.
Track list: 1. Tyler Got Him a Tesla (skit) 2. Can’t Say I Ain’t Country 3. Simple 4. Talk You Out Of It 5. All Gas No Brakes (skit) 6. Speed of Love 7. Women feat. Jason Derulo 8. People Are Different 9. Told You 10. Sack’a Puppies 11. Y’all Boys feat. Hardy 12. Small Town 13. Sittin’ Pretty 14. Catfish Nuggets (skit) 15. Can’t Hide Red feat. Jason Aldean 16. Colorado 17. Like You Never Had It 18. Swerve 19. Blessings Record label: Big Machine Release date: 15th February 2019 Buy Can’t Say I Ain’t Country