Photo Credit: John Shearer
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Florida Georgia Line found their comfort zone in 2012 with “Cruise”, and have seemingly lived by that motto ever since. The duo of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly offer up 16 “new” tracks on their fifth-studio album, Life Goes On. Out of these tracks, six of them had already been released in 2020 as part of their 6-Pack EP, and three out of the remaining were released early as singles. This left only seven tracks that fans hadn’t yet heard.
The opening track, “Long Live” sets the expectations for the album and ensures fans that the duo will not be changing up their formula as long as it keeps working for them. Within the first song, Florida Georgia Line manages to mention every country trope you can think of: small towns, dirt roads, pickup trucks, cut up jeans, and the list goes on. It becomes clear that this is just a feel-good album and not one to find any sort of emotional depth outside of falling in love with a fellow country girl. The high energy and glossy look on life is sure to conjure up a smile for any general country music fan, but provides no new insights to the actual lives of the duo.
Songs like “Beer:30” confirm that listeners are supposed to focus on the upbeat production instead of the lyrics while enjoying Life Goes On. “New Truck” is exactly as it sounds, describing in detail the purchase of a truck and not much else. Luckily, there are some gems to be found which include “Eyes Closed”, a new variation of Sam Hunt’s hit song “Body Like a Back Road.” “Like that road that I grew up on I know every twist and turn,” they sing on top of a more subdued production.
Florida Georgia Line also meets the moment on their final three tracks: “Good to Me”, “U.S. Stronger”, and “Life Rolls On” talking about being grateful for what we have and the resilience of our nation during such extraordinary times. Throughout the pandemic, one theme that comes across in music has been reflection and appreciating what we have left. Hubbard and Kelly talk about those moments with their children, watching the sunset on a front porch and feeling peace. “U.S. Stronger” takes a more direct message and commends our nation for banding together to fight whatever comes our way. Closing out with the title track, “Life Rolls On” ends on the note that no matter what happens the world will keep on spinning and we will persevere.
The duo of Hubbard and Kelly pursuing solo work spurred rumors that the band was going to break up in early January. However, during Hubbard’s appearance on the Today Show, he confirmed that the pair will continue to make music together in time for the Life Goes On release. Focusing primarily on the ‘countriness’ of partying and love, there’s one line from the song “Ain’t Worried About It”, that sums the album up perfectly: “Me, country // You, perfect.”