Florida-Georgia Line has been a lot of things, but “boring” wasn’t one of them…until now.
Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have demonstrated a unique knack for ruffling people’s feathers, whether it be via the bombastic hip-hop of “Cruise,” the thinly-veiled sexual innuendo of “Sun Daze,” or even just the inclusion of the Backstreet Boys on their previous single “God, Your Mama, And Me.” However, for “Smooth,” the fourth single off of their Dig Your Roots album, the pair apparently decided to see what they would sound if they threw out all of their redeeming qualities and kept only the bad ones, and the result is this sleep-inducing plodder of a track.
The production here is more restrained that you’d expect from FGL, with only a dobro and amplified acoustic guitar carrying the melody and a basic, surprisingly-limp synthetic beat keeping time. Gone are the electric guitars turned up to 11 or the in-your-face percussion, and they leave behind an empty shell of a song that has absolutely no energy or groove. Instead of the relaxed romantic vibe the song wants to set, the mood ends up feeling languid, lethargic, and not even remotely sexy. On the plus side, though, the song can help you bridge the gap between Ambien refills.
Hubbard’s vocal performance here is serviceable as best. His brings his usual decent range and flow to the party, but his delivery is as lifeless as the production, and he comes across as his usual sleazy-sounding self. The stink of songs like “Sun Daze” still clings to Hubbard like stale cigarette smoke, and his creepy bro persona permeates this song so thoroughly that you’ll want to spray your radio with Febreze when the song is over. For his part, Kelley does his usual disappearing act, and no one would notice if he was replaced by a generic backup singer.
The writing is…well, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Florida-Georgia Line song:
Good lord almighty
Girl, you go down good
You ain’t even trying
‘Cause you wrote the book
There ain’t nobody
A do me like you
The way you move that body
Girl, you’re so smooth
The whole thing is a shallow, objectifying tune about how hot and sexy the narrator’s girl is. It also includes such winning phrases that compare a girl to a “cat daddy driving a caddy from cali” (what’s a cat daddy?) and “a Tennessee Walker, just a walking on the water” (because nothing’s sexier than comparing a girl to a breed of horse), and tops the whole thing off by randomly including the lines “Blackberry jam, finger-licking off your hand/Flying out the window” (which makes less sense in context than it does outside of it). It’s a good thing this song puts its listeners to sleep by the second verse, because this is probably the worst-written song I’ve heard all year.
Overall, “Smooth” is a frustrating song (even by Bro-Country standards) that offers its audience no compelling reason to listen to it. The production is bland, the vocals are meh, and the writing is absolutely terrible. It’s a major regression even from “God, Your Mama, And Me,” and one that makes me very concerned about what their eventual fourth album will sound like.
Rating: 3/10. Ugh.