Florida Georgia Line, ‘Here’s to the Good Times’ – Album Review
Never has a single better represented an artist’s album than ‘Cruise’ does for Florida Georgia Line‘s ‘Here’s to the Good Times.’ Thick production, heavy guitarwork and big fat hooks define the 11 songs — six of which were written by Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard.
This isn’t an album that covers a wide range of styles and emotions. With song titles like ‘Get Your Shine On,’ ‘It’z Just What We Do,’ ‘Hell Raisin’ Heat of Summer’ and ‘Party People,’ one should know what they’re getting. It’s a summer album, released in December to coincide with the success of their debut single. The biggest dud on the album may be the lone love ballad, ‘Stay,’ a song written and recorded by rockers Black Stone Cherry. It’s a clumsy beginner’s effort that only shows off FGL’s vocal flaws when they stray from the party jams.
‘Get Your Shine On’ — a song that’s been getting some play on XM radio — is a highlight. Banjo and steel guitar drench the lyrics with country sensibility. Comparing future singles to ‘Cruise’ is unfair, but this song is stronger lyrically, if not quite the earworm.
“Strawberry shimmer on hot lips / Silver buckle hanging off her hips / Eyes sparkle when she smiles / Shine down on the radio dial,” Hubbard sings. For the most part, he takes the lead vocal duties for the band on their debut project, with Kelley proving to be a more than capable harmony.
‘Tip It Back’ and (as much as one might not want to admit it) ‘Dayum Baby’ are also songs you’ll hit the repeat button for. The first is one of the bunch that doesn’t get bogged down by heavy production, and ‘Dayum Baby’ (as in “Damn baby, damn baby, damn“) is a slow groove that gets stuck in between the folds of the most sensual parts of your brain.
Florida Georgia Line would have been better served by a more experienced country producer instead of the talented Joey Moi, best know for his work with Nickelback. There’s just not enough variety on ‘Here’s to the Good Times,’ and a few decisions — like ‘Stay’ and the talk-back vocals on the funky, reggae-inspired ‘Party People’ — leave rough edges that are difficult to embrace. Similarly, ‘Tell Me How You Like It’ has an innocence that’s violated by heavy production.
This project will sound better three weeks before the start of summer than it does three weeks before Christmas, but with a platinum song at No. 1, now was the time for FGL to strike.