Florida Georgia Line Are Killing Country Music, And The Joke’s On Us


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The world is full of country purists and traditionalists. As each generation has grown older it has chosen to covet its own era of country music and refuse the legitimacy of future progressions. It’s an age-old argument that I’m sure we are all more than tired of, and I hesitate to join the ranks of those who champion one particular decade of country music, maybe two, over all others.

[adinserter block=”3″] Yet for those who are familiar with my writing and opinions, I tend to take my own authority over a modern country music canon. I think it’s impossible not to, ultimately, if you aim to be honest with your writing. I try to take into account that country must move forward and that we cannot simply reproduce what has gone before, and understand mainstream country music from a viewpoint firmly rooted in 2013. I say all this because despite my efforts I find myself looking at the likes of Florida Georgia Line and wanting to hang up my boots, proclaiming that country is dead and that my era was the best (I am not yet 21 years old, for the record).

Florida Georgia Line are perhaps not the first to usher in the country rap song, the frat boy image, the token banjo line or the pervasive, sexist lyrics worringly abundant on country radio. Yet they are one of the most insufferable to utilize these, and what’s more combined that with melody lines that attract every pop music fan there is. That’s exactly why they are so dangerous; even I, who cannot stand them, find myself getting caught up in the hooks and aurally-friendly chord progressions if I’m not thinking too hard about it (for the record, listening for the purpose of this article. Just saying). And you might say that if I enjoy some of the melody lines, why do I strongly dislike their music? Because it’s not country. It’s not. If you are fooled by the presence of a banjo then I have no hope for you as country music fan. These are pop songs that are lucky enough to exist at a time when mainstream country desperately wants to be pop or rock, and so they fit right in. Just stretch the boundaries a little more, and they’re pretty much what fans are used to.

It’s not that country music fans are being fooled by any means; most of us realize that the music isn’t the least bit authentic and largely ignore them. But while I don’t mean to point the finger at teenage girls (I was one not too long ago), they are part of the problem. All of those undiscerning pop music fans who latched onto the latest country pop offerings are just exploring more of the same – and since this is mindless pop nonsense with fast cars and rappers and autotune – they eat it up. Some of the rest of us, having been exposed to this stuff for so long, we get used to it, it sounds familiar, so we just mark it down as country. I think we all need to remind ourselves what actual country music is. We don’t have to look into the past, but a decent 21st century take on country music can be found coming from Kacey Musgraves, the Pistol Annies and Ashley Monroe, among hoards of others, both well-known and less so.

When I go to watch the latest country music video, I don’t want to see half-naked supermodels draping themselves over cars and the frankly not-even-close-to-their-league artists who just gaze, drooling, at the fake breasts bouncing in front of their face. I’m not even going to go into what I strongly believe real country music is here in comparison – I don’t think it’s necessary. What it isn’t is bimbos who’ll have sex with any guy who drives them somewhere, faux-outlaw claims (oh wow, you drink your beer ice cold, you’re such a rebel), failed gangsta branding and songs called ‘Dayum Baby’. Really?! If that wasn’t enough, they also have a song called ‘Tell Me How You Like It’. Need I say more.

I bring this up because it has recently been announced that they have broken the record for the most number of weeks spent at #1 on Hot Country Songs for a duo since Carl and Pearl Butler in 1962 with ‘Don’t Let Me Cross Over’. I really hope this makes you angry too, as I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a ridiculous situation. I recently read this article from Saving Country Music that spoke of Florida Georgia Line as the new superstars of country music who will go from strength to strength. I would like to think that most mainstream country fans are more discerning than that, but I fear SCM is right. They appear to be sidling into the record books, and have their sights set on generational memory. Can music that is so uncountry and contrary to what the genre and the people stand for be allowed this free reign to do as they please, with the music and the community we created and fostered?

I fear that I, and those who agree with me, may not get to make that decision.


This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. frycricket@yahoo.com'

    THANK YOU, Vickye! I thought it was just me…

    1. laytoncasey@me.com'

      i totally agree i strongly dislike these thugs

  2. broadway@country925.com'

    Opinions aside, country music is evolving. This is the future. They are the future CMA/ACM Duo of the year for many years to come.
    There will always be the traditional sounding, I got a divorce and my dog died songs. But, mainstream is where the money is.

  3. nwinton@blomand.net'

    Florida Georgia line are a joke. Their song lyrics sound like they were written by teenagers. As far as the best decade for country to me it was the 50’s – the early 80’s After the urban cowboy movement country went down hill.

  4. Vickye

    With respect Broadway, divorce is a huge part of American life and should be tackled in a genre such as country music. Partying songs have their place but should mostly be left to trivial kinds of music such as pop and rap.
    And I struggle to think of many country songs about dogs, never mind about dogs actually dying… why does this stereotype prevail? :S

  5. broadway@country925.com'

    Billy Currington–’Like My Dog’
    Blake Shelton–’Ol’ Red’
    Hank Williams–’Move it on Over’
    Pirates of the Mississippi–’Feed Jake’
    Johnny Cash–’Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog’

  6. nwinton@blomand.net'

    Broadway did you know the original version of “Ol Red” was by George Jones and I prefer it to Shelton’s.

  7. Vickye

    Yes Broadway… a few songs. A few. Enough to create a stereotype? 😛 plus the definition of ‘traditional’ changes with every new generation. What is now traditional was once mainstream, and they still managed to keep the ethos of country without reducing it to a mere duplicate of other genres, peppered with caricatures.
    Just saying 😉

  8. jamiedeej@yahoo.com'
    Jamie Dee

    Amen, Vickye!! Country radio today just gives me a headache! There are very few anymore that I really enjoy listening to. And some of them are selling out to that style. It’s apparently more of a money maker and they apparently weren’t the artists I thought they were. Sad. So sad. This is the future? I’m finding a rock to crawl under… Right now!

  9. earlene_peshnak@hotmail.com'

    I agree I think that the newer group of singers like TS Carrie and many more have changed so much over to pop ,TS is still getting award afetr award for Country and she is almost all pop music now .I feel that those like Scotty McCreery (who really is trying to stay country is being put on the back burner by the country industry and not given a chance )it isn’t fair.I know they have to change some but why try to destroy country altogether

  10. broadway@country925.com'

    It’s all about the money, folks. Mainstream=more sales=more $. I’d sell out for more money. I got kids to feed! =)

  11. gdalfonzo@verizon.net'

    Excellent piece. Normally I don’t care for the term “real country” — all it does it lead to fights over what’s real and who gets to decide. But FGL is so horrible that I can make an exception this time.

  12. lispinghibiscus@yahoo.com'
    Noah Eaton

    You think Florida-Georgia Line are the nadir, wait until Blackjack Billy break out! -__-

  13. muspirit@roadrunner.com'
    music nut

    The one thing I’ve noticed with Florida Georgia Line’s music is it’s starting to all sound the same. One first big hit and not seeing much difference in the 2nd single and just heard the 3rd and it sounds the same too.

  14. topper829@insightbb.com'

    I agree that country music has changed quite a bit over the last few yers but to single out one group like this is just assanine. Have you ever heard of “dirt road anthem,” brantley gilbert, colt ford, cowboy troy, big & rich? this has been going on for years! Also, im not sure how someone could say the song “round here” is not country. So what is it then?

  15. nwinton@blomand.net'

    What would I call Florida George’s music An embarrassment.

  16. tjxworm69@yahoo.com'

    Hey not all Georgia bands are like that. O.k. They are but one who definitely is not is Matt Hudgins & His Shit-Hot Country Band. Check them out. When it comes to Fla.? Completely agree.

  17. general@dwarehouse.com'
    Dave Hoffman

    I barely even listen to Country anymore. I tried, I can’t. Not too many years ago, most of the music was Country with the occasional “What the hell is this?” artist cropping up and fading away. At some point there was a paradigm shift that happened fairly quickly, where now it seems the opposite is true when you turn on the radio.
    I don’t really blame the new artists as much as I do the record labels. They’re the ones calling the shots. I do have a problem with the established artists who have some clout with the label who have sold out to the crossover sound. I’m looking at you, Paisley.

  18. hwilliams@hotmail.com'
    hype williams

    Florida Georgia Line are blowin up country music you fuckin hack. I wouldnt be here if they weren’t. Its about time someone made a jam everyone can listen to no matter what type of genre your into. Your a bimbo that obviously didn’t get enough through your younger years, unfortunate. Tell us again whats wrong with fake breasts bouncin around in the video? more than you’ve seen in a lifetime I would guess. You should get some and write another review after, I’m sure we’d all be intrigued with what you have to say…..not. Bringing up country songs from 1962, unbelievable. Be a little more jealous of a groups success! Or wait.. get another hobby that doesn’t involve you ripping up worldwide hits from your basement!

    1. ldowl@dldl.com'

      Wow, you have issues. It’s no wonder you can’t get a girlfriend.

  19. JasonTyler_

    Whatever lady! They’re still number one… AND THEY HAVE COOL SHADES! Bam.

  20. melissa.martin1591@gmail.com'

    And I thought I was the only one who had problems with FGL – I’m not that much older than the writer. My boyfriend and I happened to see them live as they were opening for Jason Aldean and neither one of us were impressed. Ok, so I hear their songs on the radio all the time and a couple are catchy but until you hear them live you don’t realize how much auto tune is actually used. Then came the songs that we had never heard before – Dayum Baby and Tell Me How You Like It. We both were like, what the hell is this $#!t. They are not country music and in our opinion will never be. What was wrong with the real country music, the old country music? Oh, that’s right it wasn’t making enough money. The writer is right though, it is coming to the end of an era. At the concert they were playing songs between the artists and when Fishin’ in The Dark came on there was a group sitting near us that said (and I kid you not) “What is this song? I don’t know this one.” That’s when you know country music is doomed.

  21. Ev.jones26@gmail.com'

    Thank you Vickie. I totally agree with you! And I fear for country musics future much like you do. Now without sounding too hypocitical I want to express my take on Florida Georgia line. What I see are a couple of college frat boys who actually started out with great intentions, they had some southern redneck roots and were obviously going through a country phase in there lives when the began. I enjoyed the style of a some of there very first songs and would even say they were actually country. specially the songs tip it back and round here, but then as there success began to evaluate so did there egos and worst of all it got to there heads and they really drifted from there roots. They turned stupid. And there record company helped them. Now they are a disgrace and I see them as one of the most hated groups of all time because of it. Too bad they lost focus on there original ideas.

  22. Nomadgal64@aol.com'

    I hate them and their fake country twang all their songs sound the same and they have no talent. They are relying on their “country boy charm” to sell records

  23. becksangel17@optonline.net'

    Well said. This is the problem with all music though, not just country music. There’s some great pop music out there, but it’s drowned out by the crap on the radio and doesn’t get airplay. Occasionally, you get a good song that shoots to number 1. But, it’s rare. Pop music itself has been ruined by auto tune, and that’s infected every other genre.

    Ironically though, what’s ruined it all is using auto tune to cover up and hide bad vocals, instead of using it as another instrument. When it’s used artistically, it can create some pretty cool effects. That can still get overused though, and is.

    Using it to cover up for bad singers is so obvious though, because you still need to be able to sing and hit the notes naturally for it to work as intended for pitch correction. If you can’t sing, it doesn’t help much, because it has to correct so much. That’s when it sounds robotic. Just look at Britney Spears.

    Auto tune and pop has no place in authentic country music. I like melding of genres, but not these two. Country and pop music need to stay separate, the fusion ruins both genres.

    FGL just can’t sing very well as it is, so that also contributes to why they are so terrible and embarrassing.

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