Florida Georgia Line are one of the pioneers in the Bro-Country movement, combining elements of rap/hip hop with mainstream country music. The subject matter in most cases, conventionally for the genre, focuses on cars, partying and women.
From the opening track, ‘Smooth’, it’s apparent that they are doing just as it says on the tin: digging their roots. With the sounds of country, frogs croaking, crickets chirping and harmonies country fans have become accustomed to, all stationed over a banjo line. The first track is of paramount importance, it has the sole task of enticing a listener to listen on, and they certainly achieve this with such a promising start.
‘Dig Your Roots’, given the title would suggest a continuation from ‘Smooth’ in the traditional country style delivery. On the contrary, this track debuts Brian Kelly in a risky decision, handling the lead rapping over an R&B beat. Until this point Tyler had handled all vocal duties and now it’s evident why; why fix something that isn’t broken?
Progressing through the album there are many musical styles explored, each a contrast to the other. In particular, ‘Life Is A Honeymoon’ (featuring Ziggy Marley) can almost be labelled a sub-genre of surf-rock and R&B, in parts reminiscent of Zac Brown Band and to an extent, Kenny Chesney. In comparison to 2012’s ‘Cruise’ it is quite clear that Florida Georgia Line have progressed through their albums stylistically; a further example being the chart topper ‘H.O.L.Y’, which highlights the bands change in musical direction through the no frills and linear structure. Whilst lyrically it lacks imagination and appears somewhat generic, the arrangement and simplicity coupled with the repetitive nature assure this track will be repeating in your head for days after.
Overall, the arrangement of tracks perhaps does Dig Your Roots no favours. There’s a total loss of momentum after ‘Summerland’ at least up until the culmination of the record with the track ‘Heatwave’ which doesn’t compensate for the almost a monotonous feel for the 2nd half of the record, but offers slight variation nevertheless.
While Florida Georgia Line seem to embrace the change, experimenting with outside genres you can’t help but feel some of their diehard fans will feel a sense of alienation especially as far as the lyrical content and subject matter’s concerned.
‘Dig Your Roots’ is available now on Big Machine Records.
This Florida Georgia Line article was written by Ben Chamberlain, a GIGsoup contributor