Interestingly enough, I check out Bob Kingsley’s country countdown website every week, as his website showcases an old top 30 countdown from the past. This week’s countdown is from July 13, 1991…one week earlier than the top 20 you reviewed in the above article. All of the songs referenced are played in the top 30, along with some other good tunes. So, if anyone is bored or needs some background music to relax to…here are the links.
It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Mark McGrath and Uncle Kracker are here.
It’s Kevin Griffin’s feature that guts me.
Because here’s the thing: while Sugar Ray passed itself off as a very, very poor man’s Beach Boys for the TRL era, and Uncle Kracker as a more easy listening version of Kid Rock…………..Better Than Ezra actually released some consistently, emotionally affecting and melodic fare throughout the 90s and much of the 00s. “Desperately Wanting” is among my favorite mainstream hits from the 90s, and “How Does Your Garden Grow?” and “Closer” were solid albums.
So to not only see Kevin Griffin involved in this side project, but actually be the most present vocal in this travesty, is heartbreaking more than anything. I mean, I don’t even feel seething anger when I listen to this. Why should I when I expected the other two would flail for any shred of relevance, while someone who used to be self-respecting has sold his soul for a quick buck that isn’t even assured?
It might interest you to note that Florida Georgia Line rejected this when it was initially passed onto them.
Let that sink in for a moment. Florida Georgia Line……………..DECLINED this song.
Shouldn’t that serve as an instant yellow flag to any recording artist when the torchbearers of blissfully ignorant party twang-pop don’t consider your song worthy enough? When it’s coming from the mouths of those who wrote something as incoherent as “Good Good”?
Because here’s the thing: I’ve hardly ever viewed Florida Georgia Line as being among the worst of the format as of late. Their songwriting is often irritating and Joey Moi’s use of production and Auto-Tune can get aggressively annoying, but they’ve never really offended me in that they at least sound like they give a damn as reflected in the energy they put into their performances. And, moreover, even while their lyrics can be objectifying for sure……………I’ve frankly never gotten the impression they are douches. If anything, they spend more time describing the scenery around them than depicting women. They certainly lack self-awareness, but it strikes me as more blissfully ignorant than it is degrading to others. There’s a naivete that signals a saving grace in my mind.
And that explains why I don’t consider it a double standard to pull out all my artillery on this song in a way I’m not known to do with Florida Georgia Line as a whole. With Florida Georgia Line, they may be completely ignorant as to what country music means and is all about and lacking self-awareness behind the “bro-country” term, but I find it futile to get too worked up over them because, with them on the cusp of turning 30, that’s just kind of the world they know and thus it would be unfair to liken them as sellouts in that context.
But Uncle Ezra Ray? This is an absolute insult to our collective intelligence (maybe lack thereof) and nothing but a cynical ploy to milk the ZoomCare for Washed-Up Rockers and Adult Top 40 Fixtures that is current country radio.
Sugar Ray were never a remarkable band to begin with. Uncle Kracker has basically tread water his entire career. Mike Griffin is the real heartbreak here. He is MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.
I’m hardly a stickler, but what, in any possible way, even by the incredibly low standards of the current format, qualifies this as “country?” It’s being reviewed here so I assume it’s being marketed as country. But you’ve got 3 “artists” with not even this slightest connection to the genre (okay, I guess there was that one time Uncle Cracker hung out with Kenny Chesney) and not even a token banjo/fiddle/anything.
…Oh, I think I heard the word “truck” somewhere in that racket (it was kind of hard to tell, honestly), so I guess that makes it Hank Williams.
And I’ve already given this “song” more words than it deserves. Your review is more than appropriate.
And look, I’m still by no means a fan of Florida Georgia Line. I just find it bewildering when they are often cited as the worst among reviewers, because to me they’re just a brand act like Pitbull. Nothing that will ultimately be memorable or have nutritional value, but I can at least acknowledge is effective as energetic ear candy that isn’t as obnoxious as many of their peers.
There’s a place for that. The problem is, at least 85% of the country/”country” playlist in the meantime is dominated by nutritionally bereft ear candy.
But if I were to be forced to choose between the nutritionally bereft ear candy peddlers, Florida Georgia Line would be a more appealing choice than anything post-“I’ll Stay Me” Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Chase Rice or any related B or C-list peer. At the very least they have the exuberance in their performances to convince you at least THEY are having fun (unlike the overtly self-serious Aldean, Bryan or Brantley Gilbert) and, like I said, they spend more of their time describing the scenery around them than the “girls” (unlike Chase Rice most notably).
I am being absolutely honest when I say I think Florida Georgia Line still have some untapped potential in them as reflected by “Dirt”, “Confession” and the ability to hint at semi-melancholic sentiments on a couple songs off their debut album. I know they’ve said they’re never going to ditch Joey Moi (which I wish they’d reconsider), but at the very least I hope Moi is self-aware enough of the fact “Dirt” is their biggest hit by far this album cycle to acknowledge they need to dedicate more of their track listing for their third album to material that cuts in that earnest vein.