Florida Georgia Line Sounds Respectable on ‘Dig Your Roots’
On their third album ‘Dig Your Roots’, Country duo Florida Georgia Line delivers a respectable, selectively exceptional effort.
What’s a ‘bro-country’ act to do given the death of bro-country? For Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley), that was a legitimate question going into their third album. Dig Your Roots finds FGL performing more mature themes and songs. All in all, the results are respectable and sometimes exceptional. Dig Your Roots is imperfect, but its attributes easily outweigh its flaws.
“Smooth” kicks off Dig Your Roots blending country with urban beat. There’s little “smooth” about the track – the twang is biting while the overall production is raucous. It’s energetic, but not the second coming. Title track “Dig Your Roots” opens a bit clunky – think a mix between Sam Hunt and a hip-hop artist of choice. Once it settles in, it’s more effective. Two tracks in, Dig Your Roots is imperfect.
“H.O.L.Y.” & “May We All”
Third track “Life is a Honeymoon” – arguably the most questionable pre-release single – doesn’t restore order. Featuring Ziggy Marley, the eclectic duo tries their hand at reggae. The results are mixed, but not a total loss. Naturally, hit-single “H.O.L.Y.” is in the lane Hubbard and Kelley excel at. Beautifully written and performed, if FGL opted for this direction more often, they’d earn more respect. Interestingly, pop producer and songwriter busbee is among co-writers.
“Island” keeps the momentum afloat. While it clocks in under three minutes, “Island” packs a punch. Lush and chill, the record is like a decadent piece of chocolate. Despite initially being mixed about “May We All,” the Tim McGraw assisted number is among highlights from Dig Your Roots. It doesn’t reinvent country, but all in all, it’s enjoyable and successful. The stretch from “H.O.L.Y.” to “May We All” redirects Dig Your Roots.
“Summerland” is feel-good; chill. Well produced and performed, “Summerland” is alluring, though not transcendent or particularly memorable. One of the better songs, but not the best. “Lifer” – as its title suggests – reflects upon life. The maturity doesn’t “kill the vibe” – “Lifer” is still easygoing, particularly with the boys dropping a few choice words.
“We’ve been trippin’ over the same shit, I’m over the who’s to blame shit”
“Good Girl, Bad Boy” is predictable. Good girls and bad boys is a common topic and song within the scope of country music, not to mention any other genre. It may never get old, but it would take a lot to make this stand out compared to, say, “H.O.L.Y.” “Wish You Were On It” is set in a minor key. Despite the ‘darkness,’ ultimately, “Wish” is harmless. After all, FGL simply “…could use a little you right now…”
“God, Your Mama, and Me”
“God, Your Mama, and Me,” featuring Backstreet Boys, is pleasant. It features a catchy chorus that definitely won’t leave one’s head.
“Never gonna run dry, never gonna come up empty / now until the day I die, unconditionally / you know I’m always gonna be here for ya / no one’s ever gonna love you more than / God, your mama, and me / God, your mama, and me / unconditionally, God, your mama, and me”
The depth of voices amplifies the soaring nature and sentiment of the song. Florida Georgia Line prudently keeps this record country and doesn’t entertain more pop means, despite the appearance of BSB.
The end of Dig Your Roots loses steam. “Music is Healing” takes itself a bit too seriously – it’s not as effective as “God, Your Mama, and Me.” Undoubtedly, the power of music is transcendent, but is this particular song transcendent or life changing? No.
Similarly, “While He’s Still Around” opts for seriousness, with respectable results that simply aren’t game changing. It’s well sung, but not dynamic or incredibly memorable. Penultimate record “Grow Old” finds the boys reflecting on married life. Admirable, but not groundbreaking. “Heatwave” attempts to recalibrate, but lacks the punch of hits like “H.O.L.Y.” or “May We All.”
All in all, Dig Your Roots is a good album, not a great one. There are plenty of moments that should please Florida Georgia Line fans, country fans, and non-traditional country fans. There are also moments – songs rather – that could’ve been cut and strengthened the overall album. Dig Your Roots doesn’t “wow,” but it’s sufficiently enjoyable.
Gems: “H.O.L.Y.,” “Island,” “May We All” & “God, Your Mama, and Me”
Florida Georgia Line • Dig Your Roots • Big Machine • Release: 8.26.16
Photo Credit: Big Machine