Like it or not, country music isn’t what it used to be. Long gone are the days of simple acoustic arrangements coloring gunslinger ballads and truthful lyricism. Country music as it is commonly found in the mainstream today has taken on an affinity for loud electric instruments, pop-esque structures, and is built to played on a boat with a beer in your hand as opposed to in a smoky bar with a glass of whiskey. Whether you’re an old soul who hates it or a young buck who lives for it, chances are you’ve heard of a little country music duo who’ve earned their stripes on it called Florida Georgia Line.
I won’t kid myself and pretend to be a country historian here. I’m not sure if FGL pioneered their particular type of country-pop, perfected the formula, or just capitalized on its popularity, but I do know that they’ve done it a lot and gotten a lot of success because of it. Formed in 2010 in Nashville Tennessee, members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley started out as a cover band but quickly gained enough attention to earn them a record deal. Releasing a pair of EP’s in 2010 and 2012, they had a fair amount of experience and chemistry under their belts before tackling a full length album. Their debut, Here’s to the Good Times would see release late in 2012 and would go on to become one of the highest selling albums of 2013, launching the pair from overnight success to a true force in country music. Obviously, that album is also today’s entry into the Musical Training Plan, so let’s get into it.
Here’s to the Good Times is not an album with an incredible amount of innovation, originality, artistry, and will likely never be revered like Red Headed Stranger or At Folsom Prison. That being said, FGL didn’t try to make it any of those those things at all. This album is meant to be a fun, mindless album which is played loud and whose lyrics are screamed by drunk people rather than sang. It is an album whose power comes from the idea of the “good times” which they sing about, an album which just feels right when played with the windows down on a dirt road. Despite being released in early December, this is undoubtedly a summertime album, one meant not to be the focus of attention or an object worth studying, but an album to be played in the background, scoring your own good times. On all of those fronts, Here’s to the Good Times delivers in a major way. If possible, when listening to this album on your own, don’t do it seated at a desk inside, do it outside with a beer in your hand (soda if you’re underage) or in a car with the window down. And I won’t say this very often so take it to heart when I tell you to, please, not listen too hard. Don’t overthink it at all. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work as well, I promise. This type of album is not the kind I usually go for, but considering that this blog will be released in early June, it feels all too right.
In the spirit of not overthinking it, I’ll start wrapping this blog up now. Whether or not you like this brand of country, or country music at all, Florida Georgia Line’s popularity and power are hard to deny. Releasing a debut album like this, and opening it with “Cruise” is as much of an achievement for FGL as it is a statement. As long as there’s good times to be had, they’ll be there with a guitar strap over their shoulders and beer in their hands.
Thanks for reading, I hope that this summer goes way better than next one, and here’s to the good times.
Fire it up let’s go get this thing stuck.