By Aaron Wagner
Florida Georgia Line released their fifth studio album this past weekend with Life Rolls On. And there’s a lot to unpack.
FGL, especially as of late, seem to be a lightening rod amongst country music fans. Either they love the duo or they hate them. It’s no secret that they’ve become a commercial success since their debut with “Cruise” but the last few years there have been some puzzling music choices. Whether it’s a changing country music landscape or FGL coloring way outside the lines when it comes to production, they’re in a really interesting spot.
While both Tyler and Brian plan to keep FGL going including going on tour, both are going to take some time the rest of this year and potentially going forward for a bit, to focus on their own projects. We’ll find out if it’s similar to what Lady A did a few years ago or if this creative sabbatical turns into something permanent. Regardless, it’s peculiar to announce that right before this album drops.
Life Rolls On includes 15 songs, which is a ton. That being said, we’ve heard a good chunk of these songs prior, whether it was their 6 Pack EP or teasers leading up to this release. Personally I wasn’t a fan of most of the stuff that had been released prior, but they somewhat salvaged the album with the new listens.
I went through and categorized the songs into four categories that are pretty self-explanatory.
1: What the hell is this?
2: Skip it.
3: Give it a try.
4: Must listen.
What the hell is this?
I was curious when I saw the song title “Beer: 30” last year when it came out. I was optimistic but holy crap this is such a swing and a miss. I’m almost convinced that they were challenged to make the worst white-trash song they could think of. Somehow this isn’t as bad as literally the next song on the album.
What a stretch on the album. Following whatever you call track #11 that they titled “Beer: 30”, you immediately get taken to a place you want out of within the first seven seconds on “New Truck.” You know those guys that want to sell you their mixtape for $5 on the sidewalk in some touristy city? I’d rather pay those guys a million dollars for their mixtape, rather than have to listen to this song ever again. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is officially off the hook for worst song I’ve heard.
Don’t believe me? Check out the comments on the video:
“Countryside” is a song that may have been a hit for them on their first two albums, but this features too many “yeahs” and “yups” in the background to be taken seriously.
“I Love My Country” could easily fall in the previous or following category depending on how big or small of an FGL fan you are. There’s a bit too much speak-talk or rapping for my liking and a concept they’ve done over and over again.
“Hard To Get To Heaven” is a tricky one to place as it’s a bit cheesy. I could see some FGL fans arguing for this one, but I can’t get pass the cheese level.
“Ain’t Worried Bout It” starts off kind of rough and that continues in each verse. The chorus is actually pretty catchy to listen to which could save this song or bump it to the next category. I just can’t get past what they’re trying to do in the verses.
Sometimes messages are forced onto listeners and in a way, it can appear like virtue signaling, or at a minimum – very cheesy. “U.S. Stronger” is exactly what you think it’s about. Others may be more into this type of song than I am. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to spread a positive, unifying message, but it’s getting to be overdone in the country genre.
Give it a try.
“Long Live” is their current single that’s in the Top 10 and is a solid song that you won’t be quick to skip.
“Life Looks Good” is a groovy, guitar-picking song that won’t wow anyone with the lyrics, but I can see the appeal to adding it to a playlist.
While “Eyes Closed” has a bit of a snap-track sound to it, they’ve slowed it down enough to make this song worthy of a listen. It’s one of the songs that seems authentic to them. That seems to work.
“Second Guessing” is a song that came from NBC’s Songland. Seeing how that song started to where it finished might be influencing me here, but it’s a clever idea for a song title and an even more clever spin on that idea. It also has wedding song potential, so I’m always a sucker for that.
“Always Gonna Love You” was written by FGL and proven songwriters Corey Crowder, Ross Copperman, and HARDY. I think they handled everything from a production standpoint just right. It’s in their wheelhouse and isn’t anything cheap or over-produced.
“Long Time Comin'” is a song that I can actually believe means something special to them. Again, minimally produced, featuring some piano, and this slower pace of a song works for them.
“Good To Me” is a really good song from these dudes. A common theme you’re noticing, but there’s not some sort of over-the-top production that makes you cringe. It sounds like two guys playing guitar on their front porches. This is the types of songs that I want to hear more of from them.
“Life Rolls On” is such a fun-sounding song. It just feels and sounds good. Whether it’s the song title, the message, the final track on the album, or Tyler and Brian about to start their solo ventures, this song feels like a weight was lifted off of them. Heck, even as a listener, when you get to the album’s final song you feel like you deserved to hear this song after some of the other songs on the album. Emily Weisband, Alyssa Vanderheym, and Ben Burgess are the songwriters on this song and I think it would benefit FGL to cut some more outside songs going forward. This is the type of song that will allow FGL to continue to succeed this decade.