When it comes to country, I have always preferred the older stuff. Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Clint Black, Tracy Byrd…. these are the names I grew up on. Every now and again, there’s a new artist that tends to catch my attention. One of those is duo Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, better known as Florida-Georgia Line. While I grew tired of the song “Cruise” after awhile, no one can deny how catchy it is. The fact that these guys seek to merge hip-hop and country is really an enthralling factor. Genre crossovers are all-too often happening these days but there’s only few that do it right and FGL definitely knows what they’re doing. Their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times saw a considerable amount of success in radio play, sales and billboard spots. Ending at the #7 overall spot on the Billboard 200 and, by August of this year, hitting Double Platinum status… it was clear that these guys knew how to make good music. While Here’s to the Good Times focused a lot on the country elements and had minor elements of hip-hop throughout, their sophomore album Anything Goes seeks to bridge that gap. But will it do as well as their debut? The album focuses on the fact that, on the weekend, ANYTHING goes.
Starting with the title track, “Anything Goes”, the album immediately brings you into a “feel good” state of mind. You really start to feel the hip-hop vibe once we get to “Good Good”, which is the 3rd track on the album. If this album had been released in the middle of Summer, it would have been dubbed the perfect Summer album because it’s one of those that you can just sit back, drink a beer and have fun in the sun with. Of course, what would a country album be without talking about their roots. This track, for Anything Goes, is “Dirt”. This was the first single to be released from the album, peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and is a determining factor in how much Tyler and Brian have grown in their songwriting ability, as well as their talent. They’ve broadened their scope while keeping things fun and simple, the key elements in creating a perfect album in any genre. One of my favorite tracks on the album is called, “Smoke”. This track is about those Summer nights spent drinking around a fire, smoking… whatever it is you feel like smoking and admiring the girls in the area. “Sittin’ by a bonfire, watchin’ her swayin’, me and my buddies and the guitar playin’, sippin’ on 40s on a Saturday night… buzzin’ through a course of Dixie-land life, high as the stars in the milky way, those Summer days drifted away but you always flow back through my mind like smoke”. If you’ve ever had one of those Summer flings that seemed so real, you were so caught in the moment that you never wanted it to end… you’ll connect with this song. You’ll know you’ll always find yourself thinking about the one that got away.
Another track I connect heavily with (though not through the exact lyrics) is “Confession”. It’s about those days when things aren’t going right and all that you do to get away from it all. Specifically, for FGL… it goes like this “Light up the night and let it burn, lean back and watch the sundown fade, do what I do when life’s a little sideways. I take a sip and say a prayer, wait for a shootin’ star and star off at the headlights on the highway… that guy in the windshield lookin’ back looks just like me but there’s a crack in the reflection. This is just a moonlight-soaked, ring of smoke, right hand on a cold one confession.” I’m not a country boy by any means, despite my Texas up-bringing but we all know what it feels like when things don’t go our way. You have a bad day and everyone has their own separate ways of dealing with these things.
The rest of the album is equally perfect, I can’t find a song I don’t like and, truth be told, I was singing the lyrics to every song by the 3rd time listening to it. It’s the perfect feel-good record for the end of Summer/beginning of Fall and it’s a shining star among the many incredible releases we’ve already seen this year. Be sure to pick up Anything Goes, if you haven’t already, out on Republic Nashville/Big Machine Label Group now! It’s one of my favorite albums of this year and I’m sure it’ll be yours, too!
“Dirt” (Official Music Video)
“Sun Daze” (Official Music Video)”
Buy Anything Goes