A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Florida Georgia Line “Here’s to the Good Times” (Republic Nashville)
Rarely has an album been more appropriately named than the debut from up-and-coming contemporary country duo Florida Georgia Line.
After all, “Here’s to the Good Times” is about the blandest toast you can conceivably make with a drink in hand, and life is just one big generic beer commercial according to the 11-track introduction to the singer-songwriter pairing of Georgian Tyler Hubbard and Floridian Brian Kelley.
You could technically argue that the album is an extended advertisement for Bacardi, Bacardi Black and Jack Daniels, since those libations are all name-dropped along the nonstop party train Florida Georgia Line is riding up the charts, but the duo’s music is just too weak for such bold flavors.
“Here’s to the Good Times” is like the light, cheap, sold-by-the-pitcher beer version of the currently popular redneck Southern party rock, served up without the bad-boy bravado of Eric Church, the good-ol’-boy sexiness of Luke Bryan or the country confidence of Jason Aldean. The pair certainly works hard to emulate those hitmakers, though, even adding a wrongheaded shot of hip-hop to the party mix with “It’z Just What We Do.”
The duo has already scored a top five single with the bouncy summer feel-good anthem “Cruise,” and the album offers more and more and more of the same, with almost no variation. It’s like the ideal nondescript soundtrack to a field party, with the same fleeting thrills and post-purchase hangover practically guaranteed.