Published on Friday, November 14, 2014 by Andrew Buck
It may seem premature to declare the worst album of 2014 while it’s only November, but this year I make an exception for Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes. Florida Georgia Line is a country duo from Nashville that specializes in a newer breed of country music. Coined in 2013 by Jody Rosen as “Bro-country”, this frankenstein of a genre is the sour mixture of hip-hop, pop, rock, and whatever’s left of country music as each of the contending genres stir together a repulsive witches pot of terribleness.
The first track, “Anything Goes” is an exposition into just how much of a disappointment this album ends up being. Two seconds into the song, you’re immediately smacked in the face with the classic over-inflected modern country twang of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. “aaaaaaaaalabama-on the boombox, ba-ee-by / bought t’ gedda lil’ boondock craee-zae!” -music- “li-y’all betta tern this one up!”
After turning it down, I continued to drudge through some pretty heavy stuff. Admittedly, the first track caught my attention. It’s densely mixed sunshine spirit is certainly something that can be appealing to a newer country fan, but after twelve songs, fifteen on the deluxe edition, of generally the same formula of some unfitting baseball stadium 808 claps leading into either a cheesy banjo arpeggio, an electric guitar volume swell, or either a D or G chord played back to back leading into some saucy cornball vocalist’s inflections of an impenetrable southern magnitude, the sunshine spirit can wear out on even the most spirited dip-chewin’, boot-wearin’, loud-hollerin’, yankee-cursing panhandler the nation has ever wished to be ceded from. The entire album has a muddled compressed sound wherein every instrument is leveled on an indiscernible plane of meaninglessness, serving only as backing for the vocals. And even then, the vocals serve little purpose as they stand.
The content of this album is solely dependent on the vocal melodies of the frontmen, as pop music usually is, but do not confuse this with the airbrush clarity of a professional pop-singer. The twangy presentation is vocally similar to forcing a square block through a round hole. While the delivery is on key and the song pushes through, there is still some damage left behind. The duo manages to overimpose this smacky, nasally mutated southern rasp to a deafening overbearance upon any other redeeming quality the music may have in the instrumentation, successfully defacing an otherwise standard musical composition with some drunken wailer’s pickup truck and whatever happened last Friday night.
It’s difficult to tell whether this album is an outlandish defect in the inconsistent spectrum of the evolution of country music. Despite the fact that the duo appear to be genuine southerners who truly believe in what they’re producing, the reception from country music critics has not been as appreciable. The magazine Saving Country Music gave a one-word review, and it was not positive. Country Perspective gave the album a whopping 0 out of 10, hoping that soon “America will finally give up on Florida Georgia Line and give them the Nickelback treatment because Florida Georgia Line is truly the Nickelback of country music.” This statement is nothing short of the complete truth, as the producer for Anything Goes is the same man that has close ties to Nickelback, producing several of their albums since their formation in college.
It seems that the worst reviews come from actual country music critics and the positive appraisal comes from casual country music listeners. Bamboy1775 wrote an appreciative testimony on iTunes, crediting the band with producing “the best music out there right now. They are the best duo (possibly) ever to put together music and most of you don’t see that! They keep, year-in and year-out, pumping out musical gold for us country music fans, and there should be nothing to complain about! Of course, many people claim that it is not ‘country’, but stop and think about it, this is a new era, with new music styles. The old days of Willie, Waylon, and Cash to name a few are long gone, and these guys are the modern day version of those great legends. Long story short, if you don’t like it, get over it, don’t listen to it, whatever.”
There is little to no redeeming quality, no movement or direction, no discernible reason to come back and re-listen, and nothing remarkable about this glorified coaster of a CD. After careful consideration through several forced listenings, Sprite, Saltines, and a couple Ibuprofen’s, I have declared a final rating: 0 out of 10.
If you fear exposure to Florida Georgia Line’s new Album Anything Goes, I would suggest investing in some quality sound-isolating earmuffs. I have personally researched some options and present a short list of products to choose from.
•3M Peltor H10A Optime Earmuffs – $17.75 on Amazon – With an estimated 30dB reduction rate and a spiffy color option, these stylish muffs can provide adequate protection AND maintain a fashionable presentation.
•Vic Firth Kidphones – $23.51 on Amazon – Protect the musical tastes of your nieces and nephews with these comfortable headphones specially designed to lower outside noise by approximately 22dB. Specially sized for children.
•3M Peltor WS 100 Communications Headset- $399.24 on Amazon – Spend a little extra to get the grand pinnacle of personal sound isolation technology. With built-in bluetooth, this 14-pound work of art can connect to neighboring devices so you can still communicate to your loved ones while escaping the sonic apocalypse of newer country music. Although these headphones stop only up to 20dB of outside noise, you can still utilize the heavy weight of the headset to beat yourself to death when the padded protection fails to prevent the invasion of Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes.