Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Florida Georgia Line ft. Luke Bryan – This Is How We Roll

OK, we were kidding about Skrillex, only because we have a bro-country quota to fulfill.

Patrick St. Michel: Country music has come a long way since pro-wrestling heels accidentally earned Southern airplay in the late ’90s, and changed way before Florida Georgia Line opened this song with what comes off like a huge mission statement (Hank AND Drake?!?!). Bubba Sparxxx, “Over And Over,” heck these two already hooked up with Nelly. The least interesting aspect of “This Is How We Roll” is the populist posturing, like Taylor Swift never happened. What’s great about this, rather, is just how holler-along-ready it is — its lyrics aren’t revelatory but they still go down easy, and turn stadium-worthy come the chorus. Not any sort of sea change, just a really good example of a trend that solidified long ago.

Anthony Easton: Florida Georgia Line’s breakout hit with Nelly was a kind of brilliant historical moment. Chumbawamba has a song called “The Boy Bands Have Won”, but Cruise was proof that R&B finally conquered. A very specific boy band has won. I also thought the song was not terrible. But even for someone who is such an advocate for the model, something like this wants less Drake and more Hank. Or in another way, I am interested in what happens when someone outside of the white suburban kids tries this kind of cross over. We know the history, from Louis Armstrong to Ray Charles to Buffy Sainte-Marie or Freddy Fender. It seems that no matter how musically diverse the genre would seem to be, it is much less culturally diverse. I want to know if they roll any way that they haven’t been rolling. I want someone like Kandida Crazy Horse to not only succeed in her goal of being admitted to the Opry, but topping the Billboard charts. Replacing Nelly with Bryan doesn’t help that goal.

Brad Shoup: Little bit of minstrelry, little bit of modern pop uplift. “Everything on the radio” indeed. That second verse, in particular, is a fucking radiation spill. Bryan bares a little piece of his soul as he takes a bite out of the rippity-rapp structure. But it’s too much, too late. I can barely remember how awesome the twin guitars were.

Alfred Soto: Brash, amiable, and electronic, these boys are out to prove fat drums and Pro Tools are the ornaments de rigeur for their kind of party. They want everyone in country — everyone listening to country — included. Not a message, believe me, I sneer at these days.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The Sheriff Court is located in the middle of Stirling’s town centre, as integral to the town’s geography as the train station and the nearby shopping centre. As you walk through the town centre, it’s likely that you will witness a boy racer pass by you in a Mazda, windows down, music blasting. He’s usually on break from a hearing at the Sheriff’s Court, or awaiting a hearing, or just got off – craft your own narrative. One of Stirling’s wee charms is how compact it is, meaning that the second the boy racer swings out of sight, you will see him swing back around in under a minute. Most of the time, the song he blasted out of the windows will have reached its third verse. You let off some steam, you blast your favourite songs, you take another lap around. “This is How We Roll” sounds like an ode to the boy racers outside of the Sheriff Court, knuckledumb and stressed and tired of tired towns. The boy racers never played country music, but they’d probably have taken this round for another lap.

Katherine St Asaph: That mixtape’s got a lot of Demi Lovato too, right? Iggy Azalea, for learning how to rap? Country-pop crossover is fine when it’s unabashed, actual crossover, rather than this trickery: writing pop hooks, labeling them hip-hop, and proclaiming the result a party, rather than a frat-tailgate version of No Exit.

Josh Langhoff: Put off by their obsessive attempts at self-definition — like, who besides an adman brags about having Drake on a mixtape? or rhymes “young,” “guns,” “love,” and “fun”?? — I’ve nonetheless succumbed to their obsessive attempt to build the biggest chorus known to hick hop. All those guitars and vaguely robotic vocals stacked into pretty harmonies, along with dudes shouting out other dudes at perfectly timed intervals, hit some sort of sweet spot bequeathed me by Satan. And just like that, a muddy wood is recreated with the sheen of chrome.

Edward Okulicz: This music has about as much to do with Hank as it does with Drake, which is not that much, and which is not the point, either. Forget (bro-)country, this sort of thing needs a new genre label. Let me suggest “sunbelt pop”; sure it evokes trucks ‘n’ beers, but it’s also driving your ride down to the beach while bouncing along to nothing in particular to no particular end. Music for simple happiness. Much as I prefer the sun from the comfort of my covered, unexposed sunroom, I prefer to enjoy this track’s gauzy sunshine guitars — I feel ten degrees warmer just from the intro — and dorky rap-inflected good-old-boying without thinking about how idiotic it is.

Jonathan Bradley: Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” remix was the “Accidental Racist” that did make sense; a Southern party song that found the midpoint between hip-hop and country and made the difference between the two sound trivial. (Remember, it was Nelly who rapped, “Hey country girl, this country boy like everything about you.”) “This is How We Roll” is missing a genre-crossing guest star, but for all intents and purposes it doubles down on “Cruise,” with rap cadences on the verse and adoption of comfortably mainstream hip-hop slang for a hook. Constructed from a gleaming 18-wheeler sized guitar riff, Florida Georgia Line rebuke stalwart traditionalists straight-off the bat — their mixtape has a “little Hank, little Drake,” which probably describes a lot of country boys’ playlists these days. With its nods to car culture and backwoods hedonism, it’s a song that echoes Killer Mike: “We’re all Southerners. We all talk with these drawls and twangs. We all go to the race track on Sunday. We all go fishing. I don’t have a Dixie flag on the back of my pickup, but it still has mud flaps and big tires … I am that redneck guy you’re talking about.” Special guest Luke Bryan takes it to the church: “We cuss on them Mondays, and pray on them Sundays.” Amen.

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6 Responses to “Florida Georgia Line ft. Luke Bryan – This Is How We Roll”

  1. Y’all have Iggy’s name plastered everywhere, after 2 years of ignoring her. I guess Charli’s more influential than I thought.

  2. i really only see it discussed once, in a negative sense.

  3. I was referring to the whole website, not just this entry

  4. I think it’s fair to say that getting Charli in made us decide to take another listen, yes. And maybe “ignoring” too!

  5. it wasn’t a compliment.

  6. Well THIS has grown on me like a chancre.