Florida Georgia Line’s latest album title is like sticking out one’s chin and daring anyone to take a slug at it. It’s a brave move, especially since this commercially popular duo has become something of a punching bag among diehard country traditionalists. So, the album name – You Can’t Say I Ain’t Country
– which on paper may have only made sense if uttered by a grammar teacher (You can’t say I’m not country, to be grammatically correct) – proves to be an unexpectedly true statement.
The album’s title track, featuring twangy electric and steel guitar, thumps along joyfully. Its lyric brags about stylistic/cultural credentials, with a sly wink and a nod. Better still, though, is “Y’all Boys,” which is slightly rockabilly with its Luther (Tennessee Three) Perkins-esque electric guitar groove. “Can’t Hide Red” is also a Southern pride song, of sorts, which features Jason Aldean’s guest vocals. The latter, with its minor key melody, is like the flipside to “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country.”
One of the album’s few concessions to pop music is “Women,” which is augmented by R&B singer Jason Derulo’s vocals. It’s a perfectly timed ode to the girls, and just right for our #metoo era. “People Are Different” is also bit of lyrical social commentary. It’s a tad simplistic, with lines like “Break bread instead of fighting each other,” but it’s a simple truth that nevertheless rings true.
Detractors may find this unbelievable, but there’s not one bad track on the album. There’s not even anything annoying or offensive. These men in Florida Georgia Line seemed to have felt challenged to prove they can create an authentically country album. And they succeeded. It’s easily the best album they’ve released to date, and if they’re able to replicate it in the future, haters might need to consider forgiving Florida Georgia Line for past musical offenses. You just can’t say this ain’t surprising.