This song would be pretty sexy…if it wasn’t so irritating.
Florida Georgia Line embodied everything people loved and hated about the Bro-Country era, but when the duo released “Simple” as the leadoff single for their upcoming fourth album, it signaled a stark change from the bombastic guitar-and-drum-machine sound they had been known for. In country music, however, zebras don’t change their metaphorical stripes overnight, and the pair’s follow-up single “Talk You Out Of It” is a bit of a compromise between the Mumford & Sons vibe of “Simple” and FGL’s earlier work. To be honest, I’ve got mixed feelings about this one: While I really like the romantic sound and sexy feel of this song, I’m put off by the narrator’s pushy attitude and the double-standard embodied by the writing.
Let’s start with the positives first: I’m really impressed by the sensual vibe of the production here, especially in the wake of the many failed attempts at sexiness I’ve heard within the genre over the last few months. While the track ditches the raw acoustic vibe of “Simple” in favor of a more-manufactured sound closer to FGL’s past work, it doesn’t have the in-your-face, manufactured feel of FGL’s prior work either. Instead, the track seeks a happy medium between the two: The opening dobro is affected and the drum machine feels more conventional/artificial, but overall the instruments are restrained and relaxed, and they don’t have the excessive volume or complex riffs that might draw the listener’s attention away from the lyrics. I was also surprised at how warm the instruments tones felt (especially the steel guitar), and how they all came together to give the mix a decent groove and an understated sexiness that works hard to prop up the writing (even if the effort is ultimately futile). I’ve never been a fan of Joey Moi’s production (and I can’t actually find confirmation that this mix is his), but if this is his handiwork, he deserves some mad props for putting it together.
Now for the bad: It’s too bad the production tries to highlight the song’s writing, because I cannot stand this narrator’s attitude. On the surface, the track is an inverted version of John Conlee’s “Friday Night Blues” (which, for the record, is ten times the song “Talk You Out Of It” is): This time the woman is the one who is worn out from work, and the narrator is the one that wants the pair to go out on the town. The narrator successfully gets their way, and the woman dresses up for the date…only for the guy to say “Nah, you look too pretty, let’s get naked and have sex right now.” First of all, make up your damn mind, dude! Second, even if your partner eventually caves in to your demands, don’t yank their chain like that and expect them to cater to your every whim. (Every woman I know would have responded to that “talk you out of it” about-face by saying “I spent an hour getting dressed for that?!” and punching the guy in the face.) When contrasted with Conlee’s track, the scene becomes even more disturbing: The women bends over backwards to accommodate the dinner date here, but when she wants to go out in “Friday Night Blues,” she’s rebuffed and is left “dancing ’round with her broom.” This sort of patronizing attitude, coupled with the fact that the tired woman’s feelings are barely given the time of day, makes the narrator here feel unreasonable and unsympathetic, and ends up killing the mood the production worked so hard to establish. (For what it’s wroth, however, the writers at least tried to use a Luther Vandross reference, clumsy as it was, instead of a cliché Marvin Gaye one.)
With annoying lyrics like this, the song’s only chance for salvation is having a super-charismatic singer swoop in and elevate the track by softening the narrator’s edge and alleviating the listener’s unease with their sincerity and earnestness. Alas, Tyler Hubbard is not that singer, although a big part of that is his long history as a Bro-Country standard bearer. (In the hands of, say, Brett Young, this song might have turned out a lot differently.) Hubbard’s range and flow might be fine, and he certainly tries his best to sound lovestruck and sincere, but frankly, a guy who built his career on shallow, objectifying tracks like “Cruise,” “Sun Daze,” and “Smooth” just isn’t going to have the polish or debonair to pull off a song like this one. (Consider his attempts at complimenting the women, which are limited to “lookin’ like a grown man’s dream” in a “fine little dress” because physical beauty is apparently the only thing Hubbard notices.) As it is, Hubbard comes across as just another Bro trying to get into a woman’s pants (or dress, in this case), and it’s going to take a few more years of maturity and a lot more distance from the Bro-Country era before he can handle this kind of track. (As usual, Brian Kelley is so invisible here that you don’t even realize he’s here. Seriously, you might as well replace him with Brian Rolston.)
Despite it’s sensual sound, “Talk You Out Of It” just doesn’t talk me into believing it’s a good song. I’m getting really tired of hearing unconvincing male narrators trying to talk women into doing their bidding, and even after “Simple,” I’m getting tired of waiting for Florida Georgia Line to become an act I actually want to hear. With Dan + Shay emerging as a serious challenger for the ‘best male duo’ label (ugh, is that really the best this genre can do?), FGL needs to step up its game if it plans on sticking around Nashville much longer.
Rating: 4/10. Do yourself a favor and check out John Conlee’s discography instead.