FGL x BSB = GYM&M
Alfred Soto: “Nobody’s gonna love you more than” — well, you know the rest. If the Boys weren’t in the credits, I’d have assumed the Mason-Dixon Line handled the harmonies, but the rest of this gormless number could be Hootie and the Blowfish insisting on the right to put a hand on the woman’s blouse.
Katie Gill: Who knew that 90s boyband stylings would work so surprisingly well with current country? This song seems to slip between the two styles like it’s from fricken Sliders or something. When the guitars kick in and Florida Georgia Line’s twang beats you over the head, it’s hilariously current country. When Brian Littrell hits that high note and we hear those brief moments where the guitar’s muted and you hear the Backstreet Boys’ harmonies, it’s insanely late 90s. Just make a few tweaks in either direction and the song would perfectly fit into either group’s setlist. I’m so confused because this is actually kind of good, which is a shock compared to most of Florida Georgia Line’s kind of awful output… and then I looked at the wikipedia page and ah, Hilary Lindsey and Josh Kear wrote this, they got good songwriters for once. That explains a lot. Good on you, Florida Georgia Line, now please keep this up. I really want to like y’all again.
Anthony Easton: I think love should have some conditions, like quality or interest or skill. This is a soppy mess with no real thought about the implications of what is being sung. Nothing in this is alive, none of the details stick, and none of the harmonies are as tight as the BSB were originally.
Joshua Copperman: Two complaints: 1. Can someone please pronounce the word “unconditionally” correctly in a song? 2. Is it just me or is the chorus basically a rickroll? Those things aside, I like this much more than anything else they’ve released, especially because of the melodies and production. I like the processed ad-libs in the background, as well as the BSB’s lush harmonies — they even make the rap-sung part tolerable. Even if the lyrics are nothing special, “God, Your Mama, and Me” is definitely an improvement on one of some of the recent country-R&B hybrids we reviewed. So I can totally get into this, albeit *takes a deep breath* conditionally.
Jonathan Bradley: Putting Backstreet Boys on a country track could be a nice idea, but putting them on a Florida Georgia Line track is redundant; Tyler Hubbard and The Other One might as well be a country boy band anyway, such is their adeptness at locating the exact point corn-pone becomes corn syrup. This single is about how no one loves you more than John Cougar, John Deere, and John 3:16 — or something like that anyway. It’s slick, sentimental, and sincere, and that’s a tricky trifecta to pull off; Florida Georgia Line knows how to mean a lyric that should be a parody of the red states. They even have the decency to sound aware that they’re being presumptuous in placing themselves in that titular trinity.
Katherine St Asaph: The Backstreet Boys were pretty Christian deep down (thanks to Brian, probably), and being a Pearlman-era boy band they actually were Floridian, so appearing on a Florida Georgia Line song makes a little bit more sense than your average industry Tetris. What’s less understandable is putting BSB on an inferior version of “I Want It That Way.”
Edward Okulicz: If you’re going to do corn, you might as well really do corn, and this song is so corny, they might as well rename themselves Iowa Illinois Line. The harmonies from the Backstreet Boys are lovely though, and for much of the song, these hide the inherent unsuitability of Tyler Hubbard’s voice for this sort of thing. Would have been even better if they’d gone the whole 90s hog and got blokey out of Barenaked Ladies to do the Fun Rap Bit in the middle!
Maxwell Cavaseno: It’s weird — like all the other boy bands, the Backstreet Boys were a pop act built out of an R&B tradition. Yeah, sure, their appearance on “From This Moment On” worked perfectly, but if we’re honest that record is a Celine Dion style pop ballad that tips its hat to country. “God, Your Mama, and Me” finds the Boys taking that extra step into the territory they shouldn’t survive in, and for what it’s worth, they do really fine. Frankly this might be a safe place for them, as the adult-oriented R&B crowd would probably never care for new work from them and I can’t see time being gentle to how distant their peak has become from the present “pop” scene. But they need people who could write to their strengths and not FGL, who are really unaware of how to take advantage of a group that can, you know, harmonize and have a lot of different voices to employ, or really bring out a song instead of sounding like a bunch of dudes.
Will Adams: A potentially interesting fusion squandered on a song with the energy of seven dudes putting on an impromptu concert at an afternoon barbecue.