Florida Georgia Line’s new album, Life Rolls On, relays important messages of hope, love, and gratitude in a time when people can certainly use them. Fresh off releasing its 6-Pack EP in January, the duo, comprised of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, returns with 16 tracks, many of which appeared on the EP.
With Life Rolls On, Florida Georgia Line does not stray far from its established sound and follows the rest of pop-country music by incorporating various hip-hop and R&B inspired beats. While much of the actual music and specific lyrics do not shine through, the overarching meaning is this project’s saving grace.
The first song, “Long Live,” sets the tone for the whole album and contains imagery that will be revisited again and again during the 16 tracks. While the spirit of the album’s lyrics are wholesome and positive, the country duo does rely heavily on frequently used country music tropes and lacks originality on many of the tracks. With references to “old dirt roads,” “country girls,” and Billy Don Burns’ “Haggard and Hank,” Florida Georgia Line hits on numerous, classic country music themes while also showing its affection and appreciation for all of them. With upbeat guitars, drums, and synths, this lead track immediately places Life Rolls On comfortably in pop-country territory and sends the album on its way.
“Life Looks Good” is a twangy love song that lays the groundwork for all the other love songs that will follow it in the LP. This particular song is reminiscent of the duo’s 2016 album, Dig Your Roots, and while it doesn’t add anything new to the band’s discography, it does its job as an easy listening country love song.
“Countryside” is much more of a modern country love song featuring mellow electric guitar and trap-inspired hi-hats. Again, the lyrics are nothing to write home about, but the song still has strong melodies and is easy to sing along to. The next track, “Always Gonna Love You,” is similarly easy to sing along to and has one of the more memorable choruses on the album.
“I Love My Country” and “U.S. Stronger” are both tributes to the United States which find Florida Georgia Line encouraging people to take pride in being American, while also acknowledging that the country is going through some difficult times. “I Love My Country” is a high-energy song that focuses on many tropes of country living that have already been explored on Life Rolls On. “U.S. Stronger” is much softer and laid-back but contains many stereotypical lyrics. While neither of these songs are impressive examples of songwriting, they provide much-needed hope for listeners.
The title of “Hard To Get To Heaven” prepares the listener for a possible change of pace from the positive vibes preceding it, but Florida Georgia Line turns it into another heartfelt love song to add to its repertoire. These lyrics are also reminiscent of a song from Dig Your Roots, “H.OL.Y.,” and finds the two country superstars comparing their lovers to angels. The chorus ends with “It ain’t hard to get to heaven / Hell, I go there every night,” leaving the listener to interpret the rest of the story.
“Long Time Comin” and “Second Guessing” represent the two best tracks on Life Rolls On from a songwriting perspective. “Long Time Comin” describes a more realistic love story in which the two partners have been busy with “the kids and work” and “[making] both ends meet.” In the chorus, they decide to “Get down to business and bring it on home / ‘Cause it’s been a long time comin.’” Musically, the song has more of an R&B feel to it than previous songs while also featuring smooth electric and acoustic guitars.
“Second Guessing,” which originally appeared on NBC’s Songland, spotlights the most creative lyrical twist of all 16 songs. The verse and pre-chorus find Hubbard and Kelley reflecting on the fact that they “Couldn’t jump into the deep end” and how they were “Always overthinking.” But as the guitars, beats, and synths swell in the chorus, the two declare, “Since I met you, I / I ain’t spent one second guessing.” Turning the phrase “second guessing” on its head is a masterful display of songwriting and injects some much-needed originality into Life Rolls On.
“Good to Me” finds the pair acknowledging that “God’s been good, so good to me.” This moment in the album allows the listener to reflect on their own life and all that the past months have brought. Backed by acoustic guitars and drums, Florida Georgia Line provides a heartfelt message of gratitude that should resonate with everybody.
While Life Rolls On is not Florida Georgia Line’s best album, the overall themes of hope, love, and gratitude save the album from being swept under the rug by the country music industry. With so many stressful events and hotly debated topics on people’s minds, Florida Georgia Line supplies its listeners with 16 positive tracks and a respite from the rest of the world.
Photo Courtesy of Big Machine Label Group