5 Five-Second Single Reviews: Larry Fleet, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Elvie Shane, and Morgan Wallen

We’re reviving an old review format, because how else does one deal with five dudes releasing new singles to country radio?

“Where I Find God”

Larry Fleet

Written by Larry Fleet and Connie Harrington

Hey, do you remember that Real Country singing competition show? Of course you don’t. Anyway, I can see the Chris Stapleton influence is alive and well with Larry Fleet, and this is a nice-sounding tune. It’s refreshing to hear a single from a new country artist sound, you know, country. But it’s incredibly mawkish, as the title suggests. Credit to Fleet, though, for effectively underplaying the sentiment and making it feel a bit more grounded. I just wish there was more to this than empty images; we’ve got the sound back, we just need a story.

Grade: C+

“Long Live”

Florida Georgia Line

Written by Corey Crowder, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, David Garcia, and Josh Miller

I’m going to avoid the obvious joke with this single by acknowledging this: reports of Florida Georgia Line’s imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated, even with this tepid retread of their earlier hits. If anything, those songs cemented their legacy long ago, creating a two-pronged effect. On one hand, it quickly framed the duo as a one-trick pony act that cashed in on said trick pretty quickly and effectively. But it wasn’t a very good trick, and the duo was always just here for a good time; not a long one. What I’m saying is, they’ve never had much to offer beyond material like this anyway, so I understand why it exists. But yeah, it’s not good, and in 2020, it just reads like a self-parody.

Grade: D-

“Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s”

Sam Hunt

Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Chris LcCorte, Josh Osborne, and Ernest K. Smith

Counterpoint: this.

Also, I may have only taken one semester of journalism studies in college, but the formatting of “90’s” in the title is going to drive me crazy all day.

Grade: C-

“My Boy”

Elvie Shane

Written by Elvie Shane, Nick Columbia, Russell Sutton, and Lee Starr

This reminds me of those times in the 2000s, when new male artists would launch their careers with mawkish tunes that would occasionally aim for pure critic bait. Your Blaine Larsens, Jason Michael Carrolls and Bucky Covingtons, for instance. Elvie Shane isn’t a terribly distinctive vocalist, and he comes really close to overselling this, which is a shame, given that it’s fairly subdued otherwise. But I appreciate the unique choice to frame this from the perspective of a stepfather who’s just appreciative of his role and takes pride in fostering a connection with someone he treats as his own. Surprisingly solid.

Grade: B-

“7 Summers”

Morgan Wallen

Written by Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, and Morgan Wallen

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! “Music Critic Fails to Understand Popular Artist’s Appeal.” To be fair, this is easily Morgan Wallen’s best single, if only because the strikingly organic production is a welcome pivot from his usual wall of sound. But as far as faded summer romance songs go, there’s not much to this. Wallen’s gravelly tone fails to compliment the languid atmosphere, lending an overserious tone to this track. And that’s even more jarring when the writing scans as incredibly whiny anyway. In short, Danielle Bradbery and Thomas Rhett performed this song better just a few years ago, and if that’s not the saddest, most damning indictment of this track, I don’t know what is.

Grade: C

4 Comments

  1. When it comes to Florida-Georgia Line, and this is by no means a defense of them by the way, I don’t think they can be blamed for having “invented” Bro-Country as such. I think the blame for that can go to Big & Rich and their whole Muzik Mafia thing of 2003-2004; in my mind, that is where Bro-Country started.

    But FGL sure have done their share to spread the toxic wealth around.

  2. Depends on how you define “bro-country.” I’ve always viewed it as an isolated trend – music for frat bros, by frat bros, where the level of pure misogyny was through the roof.

    Big & Rich’s music was loud and obnoxious in its own way, sure, but I don’t really see how it led specifically to bro-country.

  3. I do sort of see Bro-Country as a result of what was popular during much of the previous decade (the 00’s): Southern rock flavored “I’m Country” checklist songs, the ultra macho beer/patriotic songs by Toby Keith, the frat boy/beach songs by Kenny Chesney, various obnoxious songs by Trace Adkins (Badonkadonk) and others, and yes, the hip hop influences Big & Rich and the “Muzik Mafia” helped bring to the genre. Bro-Country pretty much took almost everything I disliked about mainstream country during most of the 00’s and turned it up to 11. While I do consider FGL the ones who “officially” started the trend, there are songs released before FGL debuted that I consider bro-country, like “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” “Country Must Be Country Wide,” and even “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” which I consider to be one of bro-country’s ancestors. The growing lack of female artists on the radio also helped clear the way for the trend, imo, but that’s another topic altogether.

  4. Anyway, as for these singles, Larry Fleet and Elvie Shane were the only ones I was able to get all the way through without turning it off. I like how “Where I Find God” sounds, but I found the chorus to be a bit underwhelming and too “listy” like typical modern country. “My Boy” is not too bad, either, but so far I’m not too crazy about his vocals. When it still comes to country songs about stepdads, I still very much prefer Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be,” but I do like how this song comes from the stepfather’s perspective.

    I was also pleasantly surprised at the calm and laid back sound of “7 Summers” when it first started, but then when Morgan started singing, I was like “Nope!” and cut it off. Count me in as another who doesn’t get his popularity, so far.

    As for the FGL song, it just made me wish I was listening to the much better song of the same name by Taylor Swift on her Speak Now album instead.

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