January 6, 2013
Love it, hate it, or tolerate it, the one thing “Cruise” undeniably had going for it was a mighty hook. Not just a catchy one, either; as in all great sing-alongs, there was a universal quality to it; it captured a certain moment in the human experience. Yes, I really do think “Baby, you a song / You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise” speaks to something substantial – kind of like “Oh, play me some mountain music / Like Grandma and Grandpa used to play” or ”You and me goin' fishin' in the dark!” – or, to hew closer to Florida Georgia Line's probable influences, “I don't ever wanna feel like I did that day” and “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you want it, you better never let it go.”
So it's a good'un. Unclasp that magic hook, though, and everything wrong with this duo's current approach becomes all the more obvious.
First: they desperately need a new production M.O., as Joey Moi has rendered “Get Your Shine On” – as he did with “Cruise,” and has done with every other track on their debut album – with a super-loud, super-compressed, super-exhausting assault of arena-country blah.
Second: they desperately need to aim higher than soundtracking tailgate parties – or at least need to sneak some smarts and heart into that theme, if they're set on it. I really think they could pull it off, too; if you can endure this thing long enough to pay attention to the lyrics, you'll see that they've got a sharp way with details to go along with their strong melodic sense. Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley can craft songs; they just have to aspire to more than musical junk food. Songs like “Cruise” that tap into universal feelings can last; songs like this that mean almost nothing will be forgotten like so many 'shine-drunk nights.
Third: I encourage a frank, lusty detail here or there, but the line is fine between that and gross objectification. Careful, fellas.
Written by Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins