Single Review: Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”

Florida Georgia Line

Written by busbee, Nate Cyphert, and William Wilk Larsen

A baffling mix of romanticism and religious imagery, Florida Georgia Line’s attempt at respectable music only puts their musical incompetence into sharper relief.

Little more than a Curtis Stigers throwaway, “H.O.L.Y.” (“High On Loving You”) is adult contemporary drivel, the equivalent of those “serious ballads” that teenybopper acts like New Kids on the Block and Color Me Badd used to show they’d grown up, but only ended up as signals that their careers were ending because their audiences were outgrowing them.

Florida Georgia Line has been responsible for more epically bad music than any successful act in country music history, so I understand the temptation to see forgettably bland as an improvement.

It’s not. The only improvement Florida Georgia Line is capable of is complete silence, and it can’t come soon enough.

Grade: F


  1. I admit I’m not a fan of this band, but even I have to object to this review – and a lot more recent reviews like it.

    We’re at a point now where this website isn’t reviewing music or lyrics anymore. You’re just attacking acts you don’t like. We get it – you hate Bro Country. But that still shouldn’t prevent you from being fair and objective when reviewing a song. If not, just admit at the beginning of the ‘review’ that “This song had no chance on here because we hate the act that recorded it” and be done with it.

    Lyrically, this song isn’t that bad. As a Christian, I’m not sure I like the idea of comparing a romantic love to salvation, but it’s not like songs haven’t done that for decades.

    Let’s be honest, if Kacey Musgraves or Chris Stapleton had recorded this, it would’ve received no lower than a ‘A-‘.

  2. “We’re at a point now where this website isn’t reviewing music or lyrics anymore. You’re just attacking acts you don’t like.”

    First of all, we do review lyrics and try not to personally attack artists that we don’t like in our reviews. In fact, in this review, Kevin discusses the lyrics of this song (and if I had reviewed it, I would’ve also discussed the awful production!), but no attacks were made on FGL outside of the bad music that they make, which is valid.

    Based on the production alone, not to mention the cheesy holy/High On Loving You thing, I wholly guarantee that I would not rate this higher than a D no matter who sang it, even if it was Vince Gill…especially if it was Vince Gill. I’d be disappointed if Musgraves or Stapleton recorded it as well. The only difference here is that we don’t expect much better from FGL, so we’re not disappointed by it at least.

    I can also guarantee that when I hit play on listening to a song for the first time, even if I don’t like the artist, I always hope I’ll like the song. I always hope that a new song by FGL, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Rhett Akins will surprise me by being good. In fact, I almost feel a different level of excitement when that happens than I do when an artist that is reliably good releases another good song. Yes, I’ll rant when a bad artist puts out yet another bad song, but I don’t rejoice in having to do it and I don’t root for an artist to put out another bad song. I’d much rather be surprised by a good song.

  3. I agree with the review generally. Yet, I must admit, that it is better than anything else that this band has produced. Yes, that does not say much. All that being said, I have been surprised to hear positive comments about this single from country fans that I know and who generally think this band produces dreck. This single clearly has evoked something even in more discriminating country fans. It did not evoke anything positive from me.

  4. With these guys love of late 90’s/early 00’s Rock so evident, I was wondering when FGL would release a vaguely religiously themed love song `a la Creed’s “Higher”. I guess that time is now…

  5. Leeann,

    The poster you quoted is right about this site not reviewing music anymore and that the last few single reviews have been increasingly negative. I follow this site with the RSS feed, and the only activity lately has been the Sunday thing and a couple Dixie Chicks revisited. I really do hope we can get more single/album reviews soon. Heck, what about a new release post of albums released in the last couple of months that you would recommend? I know you guys are busy, but there are a few staff writers here. Maybe do a long post next week of what is happening in Country Music news that’s not Sunday Selections, mainly good songs or albums you’ve been listening to that came out this year.

    As for this group, I don’t like FGL and haven’t heard the song. Don’t think I want to hear the song, but in terms of the bro country thing, I did have a guilty pleasure for Luke Bryan’s hunting song that came out a month back.

  6. I went back to the latest single reviews, and I was wrong about the negative part. Still, it’s felt like a few months since we had one, or an album review, even though the last single review was in April.

  7. Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned: I actually kinda sorta liked “Confession”. The video was terrible, but the song really wasn’t that bad – at the very least, I could relate to it, which is more than I can say for most of FGL’s other production or the song that follows it in my randomly assembled Youtube playlist, Luke Bryan’s “Huntin’, Fishin’, whatever” (now that one I HATE). So for a few minutes, I actually considered giving FGL a pass, if not a “well done”. But then one day I heard “H.O.L.Y.” and there goes all my good will towards them. them.
    Also, Kevin’s analysis and comparison to NKOTB is just spot on. There is just one difference: in case of NKOTB and their followers and imitators, such ballads usually spelled the impending end of their careers. Sadly, here that does not seem to be case.

  8. Good points, Greg. Maybe it’s more that if the reviews and music coverage are going to be so limited, at least use the time to focus on quality music.

  9. Jason,

    That’s basically what I was trying to say. I barely listen to Country Radio anymore, and last year at this time I was introduced to Chris Stapleton, and found out about Alan Jackson, Jason Isbell, Maddie and Tae, and Ashley Monroe all having new albums coming out in the summer. Is there anything to look forward to on that exciting level this summer? Who is the next Chris Stapleton (The guy we knew about in May before everyone else found out about him in November during the CMA Awards). If I were to buy a country album this summer for a vacation, what would be like your top 3 recommendations?

    Wasn’t Brandy Clark coming out with anything this summer? I think the only artist who I really liked from this year so far is Moran Morris, but I think it ended up being just the song “My Church” that I liked.

  10. Well, if it weren’t for all the Autotune and production gimmickry that they and their producers use on this record and all the ones before it, Florida-Georgia Line would be defined as emperors without any clothes (not even a decent pair of blue jeans [LOL]), because their “harmonies’ are absolutely horrid. But they get away with a lot of nonsense like this, and it’s embarrassing that an industry that really ought to know a lack of talent when they see it lets this go on.

  11. Eh, I’d consider this a F as far as country songs are concerned, but a C as a song on its own merit.

    It’s passable as an Adult Contemporary/Hot Adult Contemporary song between the mostly agreeable (if pedestrian) lyrics and Tyler’s vocals being dialed down compared to usual besides the bridge. I much prefer “Confession” and “Dirt” over this and am frankly surprised this has become a career hit for the duo, but it’s definitely preferable to “Sun Daze” and “Anything Goes”.

    Even though you can do a hell of a lot better than these two, you can also do a hell of a lot worse (Chase Rice, Old Dominion, RaeLynn, etc.) I just object to this being categorized as a country single is all.

  12. As for the commentary on recent features provided here, I’ve always kind of sensed a bent towards nostalgia on this site compared to others that specialize in reviewing country music.

    You can tell the writers, overall, share a consensus of the 90s being a golden era of sorts for mainstream country music, and that wistfulness is obviously going to inform their content. Which is certainly fine. They have every right to.

    What I’m saying is I’ve never exactly perceived this site as one specifically geared towards reviewing current acts. It definitely has more of a time capsule air to it.

  13. Thank you all for your feedback. We appreciate that you read and care about our content. I cannot promise anything, but I can say that some of us have lighter work responsibilities in the summer, so our content will likely increase as a result for the next couple of months at least.

  14. Nadia

    Thanks interesting because when I first started reading this site, it was mainly for the single reviews. Things change as the years go by I suppose.

  15. There will be more regular content in the coming weeks. I’m trying to get caught up on the single releases.

    The bias toward nineties as a golden era is 100% true. I keep wanting to enjoy mainstream country music more – I’m not much of an Americana/folkie type – but the pickings have been slim overall.

    But I’ve given a lot of positive reviews to songs on the radio this year, including “Humble and Kind” and “Church Bells” recently. I also like the new Luke Bryan, which I will be reviewing in the next day or two.

    Check out Leeann’s new A review for the latest Shelton song, too!

  16. Kevin,

    Glad to hear. Still would like some album recommendations this summer but through the month of May when the only thing coming out was the Sunday stuff I was asking myself if I should continue reading this site. I enjoy this site and the people who post here and the well thought out reviews and didn’t want to see it end.

  17. I appreciate the hard work that this site’s editorial team devotes to country music commentary. It is my first, go to source, and has introduced me to artists of which I was not previously aware. Some of the links are also first rate such Roughstock and the Nashville Sound. I realize that the site is not the day job of the contributors and editors, but please keep up the great work! Thank you!

  18. This song is just not that good. But it isn’t their worst ever either (“This is How We Roll”–pure rap which ive always hated)


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