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Florida Georgia Line - 'Here's to the Good Times' Album Review

Florida Georgia Line crank up their sound machine

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heres to the good times album cover

Ain't no party like a southern party, 'cause a southern party don't stop.

Image courtesy of Republic Nashville Records

Imagine hand-clap choruses, and booming production that sounds like a cacophonous update of "Jack and Diane." Imagine no more: Here's to the Good Times is the debut album from Florida Georgia Line; it may not be built to last, but it's built to be blast.

"Cruise" is the glossy crown jewel -- a genetically engineered song of the summer in which band members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard see little difference between the music of romance and the romance of music: "Baby you a song / You make me wanna roll my windows down." Keep it handy for long drives down the coast -- or, more likely, commutes to work.

A sound system with a sub-woofer befits "Here's to the Good Times," a shrine to beer, Bicardi, and babes. Like the recent work of Luke Bryan, the group aren't afraid to borrow from hip-hop. Those tendencies become explicit on "It'z Just What We Do," a country-rapper that sports an industrial beat and rhymes "Bocephus" with "Jesus."

Florida Georgia Line's Wall of Sound may get repetitive, but then so did Phil Spector's. (Producer Joey Moi was also behind Jake Owen's "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," which seems to be the template for basically every song on Here's to the Good Times.) The buzzy, bassy sound-machine gives no headway to the odd acoustic ballad, which even the most pop-flavored country acts seem contractually obligated to supply. The closest the group get is the marvelously overwrought love song "Stay" ("I'd sell my soul just to see your face / And I'd break my bones just to heal your pain").

"Tip It Back" doesn't break any new ground (Dierks Bentley released a song called "Tip It On Back" last year). But it takes true grit to sing "Dayum, Baby" with not just a straight face but real commitment. Taking a shot every time they say the title makes for a lethal drinking game.

Here's to the Good Times ends with the high-octane "Party People," after which one visualizes the band collapsing like a pair of truck drivers off an amphetamine binge.

Track List for 'Here's to the Good Times'

  1. "Cruise"              
  2. "Round Here"  
  3. "Get Your Shine On"      
  4. "Here's to the Good Times"       
  5. "It'z Just What We Do"                 
  6. "Stay"                  
  7. "Hell Raisin' Heat of the Summer"           
  8. "Tell Me How You Like It"            
  9. "Tip It Back"       
  10. "Dayum, Baby" (with Sarah Buxton)       
  11. "Party People" 
Release date: December 4, 2012
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