Florida Georgia Line released their fourth album, “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country,” on Feb. 15. They are dependable in their upbeat country twang sound with an occasional mix of flavors into other genres. But this album breaks even more usual country sound boundaries with unique twists that make “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country” their best album yet.
When listening straight through the 19 songs, the listener is interrupted by Brother Jervel’s voicemails four times. These are snippets of fake voicemails that set up the next song as a comedic interlude. Brian Kelly and Tyler Hubbard, the main singers, have a friend named Chris, also known as Nugget, who will randomly call them to leave alter ego voicemails.
Brother Jervel is their favorite of these alter egos and they decided to use him in this album through mini skits. The effect creates a unique sound that makes the audience laugh at the absurdity of the character, but it also relates back to the title song of the album. Brother Jervel has an extremely country accent infused with talk of church and Nascar that are often associated with the South.
In terms of sound, Florida Georgia Line is a leader in innovating the country movement away from its usual roots. They are best known for their song “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha which garnered over 640 million listens on Spotify after coming out in 2017. The track resonates with synthesized pop beats yet still works with the band’s country tone.
On their new album, Jason Derulo and HARDY collaborate to continue surprising the listeners with what genres country can blend with. Let me just say, they are killing it.
“Women” with Jason Derulo includes R&B vocalizations with a lazy hard-hit beat that makes the listener want to sway eyes closed with a significant other in the moonlight.
In this whirlwind album, the song “Speed of Love” set before “Women” is grounded in country twang. It almost seems like a hat tip to the Rascal Flatts song “Backwards” that tries to list as many country items as it can during the fast-moving beat. The two songs set next to each other are complete opposites in terms of genre, yet Florida Georgia line makes them both work so well the listener does not question the duo.
The entire album is a breath of fresh air in terms of country music because it isn’t trying to spend 19 songs expressing the same ideas of country love and companionship that most artists in the genre try to do.
There are of course love songs on the album like “Told You” and “Simple” that pull the heartstrings of listeners. Overall, the album questions the notion of what it means for an album to be country music. The title itself dares critics to debate with the band on their collaboration choices that reach beyond cut and dry country choices.
I give the album a five because no matter what a person’s preference towards music is, there is a song for them on this album. Even noncountry fans can appreciate their less country songs like “Women” or “Swerve” and fans of rootcountry will love “Colorado” or “Can’t Hide Red.” With each album, Florida Georgia Line continues to surprise and please new audiences with risky combinations that keep getting better.