Jul
8

Song Review – Florida Georgia Line’s “Dirt”

July 8, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  142 Comments

florida-georgia-line-dirt-video

I’ve had a theory for years, proffered in bits and pieces on this very site at opportune times, stating that one of the ways you can define country music is by envisioning the very dirt of the American South and West rising up in song, like when you take your hands and dig them deep in the earth and squeeze it in your palm, it is the very breath of the molecules exhaling in the sound of music. As Southerners and Westerners, and others who offer safe harbor in their souls to the genuine, exiled sound of country music, those same molecules coarse through their veins. And by taking these sounds and the sentiments they convey, ordering them as such by the rules of music so they’re pleasing to the ear, and offering the result up to neighbors and family in friendship and love, country music is made.

Because this song is from Florida Georgia Line is not the reason to hate it. It’s the exact reason to love it. Today, the 8th of July, 2014, is a victory for country music, and for the individuals and entities who wish to see a measure of balance restored back to the format—not based on taste, but on the theory of finding less divisive music that we can all enjoy together as country music fans.

Don’t worry, there’s no wool over these eyes. I’ve not been dipping into the cough syrup. We all know this is just one song, and very likely the major point of it is to pander to pointy-nosed critics and other vehement detractors, only to potentially have the rug pulled out from under them by the very next single from one of modern-day country’s most notorious repeat offenders. But the autonomy of a song must still be respected. The opportunity any open-minded listener must give a song if their opinion is going to be taken with any credence necessitates blinders be erected to whatever past or future circumstances may linger or transpire, and an open heart be offered, even if the heart immediately puckers back up at the tone of the first note. Because these are the attributes that make anyone a good listener, and gives that listener the opportunity to truly find the most from their musical experience.

florida-georgia-line-dirt-001Sure you can nit pick this song all to hell. The staircased tones in the vocals clearly denote the presence of Auto-tune. No matter where the lyrics go, they get there in a checklist manner, naming off many of the usual suspects commonly found in shallow country party songs like headlights, whiskey, and bonfires. The watery rock guitar lick is too prominently featured, though not offensive on its own. And the fleeting “dirt … dirt … dirt … dirt” is not going to do anything for many distinguishing ears.

But lo and behold, we found a song that doesn’t start off with a drum machine, features a steel guitar (as much as you can expect in a mainstream song these days), and a song that is about something. Even Brian Kelley, the heretofore silent member of the group, takes a verse. These things aren’t saving graces, they’re sincere efforts to make a song with substance. By God, Florida Georgia Line is listening to their critics, and making efforts to improve.

The question about this song is if it truly conveys a story, of if it is simply about a physical item (dirt) being ingratiated by adjectives. I’ve been going back and forth about this, and with it the determination if this song should be considered good, or great. On its surface, no, “Dirt” does not have a story, and this is tipped off by how the video for the song unfolds. But what “Dirt” does have is what every great song must have: the ability to mutate around the personal narrative of the individual listener until it becomes the soundtrack for memories that allow their own story to play out.

Florida Georgia Line’s “Dirt” is not good, it’s great. And another argument in its favor is that it shows vast improvement in the duo’s output, however fleeting that improvement may be. Songs shouldn’t just be judged by themselves or against their peers, but on the potential of the performer. One of the infuriating things about music as entertainment is that we know many of these artists have better in them. They just need the courage, and the incentive to prove it.

That’s why we’d be remiss to write this song off just because it’s from Florida Georgia Line. We clamor for country music to improve, and then when it does—when they make a concerted effort to reach out to the disenfranchised country fans—we obsess over the intentions, and continue to criticize from habit. And exactly how is this pattern of behavior going to lend to better music?

And unlike a song such as Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song“, this isn’t direct baiting of negative sentiment.

Kudos to Florida Georgia Line for releasing this song. Angry listeners voiced that the duo were too shallow, and they listened. That’s why it’s important to let your opinions be known; why criticism isn’t just self-ingratiating or fool’s errand. And though I’m sure there’s many sparring matches still ahead for this duo and the decent people who love true country music, we are thankfully able to find some common ground with “Dirt.”

Two guns up.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - -

The video is quite respectable as well. The main character is played by legendary songwriter J.D. Souther.

“Dirt” is written by Rodney Clawson and Chris Thompkins.

142 Comments to “Song Review – Florida Georgia Line’s “Dirt””

  • I’m just laughing at the minions that follow, waiting with baited breath to type in derogatory comments before reading your review. Now watch the love fest begin. That said, its a great song. A tad overproduced as I’d love to be able to decipher the chorus lyrics better, but one of their best efforts nonetheless. Another great writing effort by Rodney Clawson and Chris Thompkins. Clawson was also on American Kids, so he’s got two sure fire #1s coming late summer.

       5 likes

  • Did I just read a positive review of a Florida Georgia Line song on Saving Country Music? And here I thought that the two were like water and gasoline. Is flu season over yet? :P

       9 likes

    • I literally grasped my chest when I saw the words 2 Guns Up

         23 likes

  • I don’t know….I’ve listened to it a few times now and I’m just not hearing much that makes this different than everything else they put out. It even still has all the “jeans she has got to peel off summertime” cliche. I’m not gonna bash it, but I just have to respectfully disagree.

       33 likes

    • Yep, just sounds the same.

         0 likes

  • I respect your opinion, ol buddy. But it still sounds like a frat boy douche singing a checklist song. I will say, at least it is a dose of real life in one of their songs finally.

       28 likes

    • TOTALLY AGREE.

         2 likes

  • Hey Trigger, longtime reader and first time commenter. I’ve been waiting all day for you to post your review of this song, because if it’s one thing I love about your reviews it’s your “real”-ness. An artist could make a hundred terrible songs that you review and rant on but when they finally put out something with substance, you give credit where it’s due. A respectable and very accurate review – I wouldn’t expect any less.

    Take care.

       22 likes

    • Thanks for reading Bomber.

         4 likes

  • Just because a song has a steel guitar doesn’t mean its country, I’d rather listen to a country rock song with an electric guitar by Eric church than listen to these guys. These guys rapped at the cmt awards. You got this one wrong trigger.

       3 likes

    • His opinion of the song “Dirt” is wrong because these guys rapped at the CMT Awards? That’s sort of like saying George Jones wasn’t country because he collaborated with Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton.

         8 likes

      • That’s exactly what I thought as well. If we want artists to improve we can’t hold their past mistakes against them to that degree. And even though I am sure there will probably be some horribly rapped songs from FGL coming up in the future, we still need to acknowledge what they do right amidst the things they are doing wrong, if we ever want to hope for continued improvement.

           9 likes

    • “These guys rapped at the cmt awards.”

      Sorry, I failed to take this into consideration for this song review.

      And you’re right, steel guitar does not make something country, and something being country doesn’t necessarily make it good. I didn’t really speak on how country this song was. I would consider it country pop.

         11 likes

  • Instrumentally, it is a lot better than their other material. And this may be only the second full verse Kelley has ever done. But lyrically, isn’t this just a more “back home” or humble version of Hell Raisin’ Heat Of The Summer?

       2 likes

    • Personally, I kind of liked “Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer” (despite some odd lyrics not making sense and feeling kind of shoehorned in) and considered that the best song off of “Here’s to the Good Times”.

      In fact, that was the only song off of “Here’s to the Good Times” I would definitely give more of a “Thumbs Up” leaning overall. “Tip It Back” MIGHT get there depending on my mood that day just because it’s an energetic, inoffensive and downright catchy drinking song, and the title track at least tried to emote in how the lyrics and production have a bittersweet air to them with the open-ended line “………while there’s still time…”

      The rest of the album I can pretty much do without entirely. But let’s just say, if they’re drawing more inspiration from “Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer” and “Dirt” and less inspiration from “This Is How We Roll” and “Stay” for their sophomore album…………I might actually come around to appreciating them a lot more.

         4 likes

  • I will be the first to admit, I have never really been a fan of FGL, and hearing they had a new song sort of made me cringe, but this is a great song. I like the lyrics, and actually feels like it has meaning much like older or underground stuff. Would be better if it was a little slower but like I said a good song nevertheless. Hats off to you FGL for releasing this. There is hope for the radio after all.

       4 likes

  • I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call this great but at least it’s a song of theirs that I won’t turn off it it comes on the radio, and that’s saying something!

       6 likes

  • so thats what Kelley sounds like lol and I have a theory that they all made this generic pop music to get pop listeners hooked and then slowly transition into country music to ultimately make more country fans

       6 likes

  • Dean Brody’s Dirt song is a lot better http://youtu.be/Vnc0q3k8bPc

       5 likes

  • I’m not crazy about the song, it isnt terrible, far from it, but it is still a little too much of a checklist song for my tastes. That said lets hope this does well on the charts and leads to a bit more substance on the radio. Obviously I wish Jamey Johnson, Chris Knight or Sturgill Simpson would be big radio stars, but if we can turn the trend from mindless crap that consists of 99% of current radio hits to something that doesnt actively insult the intelligence of the listener, I’ll take it.

       3 likes

  • THIS SONG HAS THE SAME MELODIC CADENCE OR SHOULD I SAY LACK OF MELODY THAT EVERY MODERN COUNTRY SONG HAS. THEY ALMOST SOUND LIKE THEY ARE TALKING NOT SINGING. THE RHYTHM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH COUNTRY MUSIC. THE SONG AND THE VIDEO ACTUALLY FALL INTO THE SAME CLICHE AS EVERY OTHER SONG ON MODERN COUNTRY MUSIC. BOTTOM LINE THE SONGS SUCKS. WHY U WOULD GIVE IT 2 GUNS UP IS BEYOND ME. MUST BE APRIL FOOLS DAY. LOSING FAITH AND LOYALTY ON YOUR REVIEWS.,,,,,,,, GEORGE

       8 likes

    • I’m with George (and many other folks , apparently ,) on this one . Same ol same ol production…far too busy lyrically in the chorus ( laundry list….just FAR too busy like most bro-country ) , weak , forgettable melody , grating vocal .

      When I hear a song like this , I ask myself ” If a writer came into my office and sang and played this song with just an acoustic guitar , how would I respond ? Would I honestly say “I hear a huge hit “. ? Not a chance. I would say ” Yes,IT IS BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE the Cruise kids have released” …but what is THAT saying ? They set a fairly low bar for themselves . It just wouldn’t pass the ” singin round the campfire with an acoustic guitar ” test

      In my estimation , this song got a ‘by’ because of the success of the Cruise kids other songs. If any other artist , particularly a first time artist , tried to get this played , I don’t think he’d/she’d stand a hope . FGL’s fans will like this because they’re supposed to .

         6 likes

      • TWO GUNS UP FOR A SONG WITH AUTOTUNE EFFECT . REALLY?

           2 likes

  • I’m sorry but I lose respect for George Jones for collaborating with those two. He supports real music right?

       1 likes

    • Um, Matty, not sure if you’ve heard, but Mr. Jones passed away. You see, Matty, Mr. Jones is a legend, so he supported whatever music he damn well pleased. No Eric Church flag waving “outsider” should EVER try to call out Mr. Jones.

         7 likes

  • This is where the hypocrisy shows its ugly head. Merle haggard is great even though he collaborated with Eric church. But FGL gets a great review even though they literally RAPPED at the CMT awards. Yes RAP. But eric church is a fake asshole according to this site, if that doesn’t scream hypocrisy then I don’t know what does.

       1 likes

    • Matt, I’m not reviewing artists, I am reviewing songs. I explained this specifically in this review, that it is our obligation to review songs in a bubble. And just because I happen to think this song is a positive step forward for both Florida Georgia Line and country music, doesn’t mean I think it somehow absolves Florida Georgia Line of all past transgressions. How did this all of a sudden becomes about the ding dong CMT Awards or the merits of Eric Church vis a vis Florida Georgia Line? Trust me, I have still written many more positive reviews for Eric Church than Florida Georgia Line, and unless this song symbolizes some complete sea change from the duo, I don’t see that ratio changing anytime soon.

         16 likes

  • I think I would enjoy this if it were sung by just about anyone else, but the guy’s (heavily autotuned) voice just grates on me.

       6 likes

  • Huh… I don’t think it’s very good.

    To begin with, it’s not very well written or well sung. Other than the two repetitive “verses,” there’s just not much to it other than the big, forced, overlong chorus. And the melody is as dull as.. well, you know. Tyler Hubbard’s vocals grate as usual, and for some reason the lyrics on the chorus are nigh unintelligible. (Plowed up cloud that you dabbed Daddy’s what on?) The one real revelation I got from this song is that the secondary guy actually has a much better country singing voice than the lead guy. Why the heck don’t they let him sing more?

    I commend Florida Georgia Line for attempting to release a more substantive, more country song, but “Dirt” kinda seems like the least they could do. The songs conveys an emotional state other than mindless partying, but it doesn’t actually tell a story. It paints a vague picture through the use of cliches. Actually, it’s like the songwriters heard the vocal criticism toward party songs, and decided, “hey, the folks are tired of the party stuff, let’s do the sentimental thing instead.” Then they took the typical bro-country checklist and ran it through the “nostalgia” filter. (Unsurprising, given that nostalgia seems to be the only real emotion pop-country artists can muster in between endless partying.) Anyway, I don’t hate this song outright, but I can’t help the feeling that just a couple years ago this would be one of those songs I would hear and say, “Ugh, another one those trite pop-country songs.” Oh well.

       17 likes

    • I was also surprised by Kelly’s voice and agree it sounds better than Hubbard’s ridiculous drawl. They’re hell bent on taking advantage of the drawl fad and it’s to Kelly’s detriment. Not a very good song, but certainly more palatable than their prior material.

         3 likes

      • Agreed.

        One thing I’ll add is that my first exposure to the song was just the audio, without the video. The video puts the song in a slightly different context, especially because of the added lines spoken by the older gentleman (J.D. Souther) which give it more depth, and more of a narrative framework.

        I just wish the songwriters had found a way to tell in the story with the actual lyrics.

           2 likes

        • I completely agree. My favorite lines were from the video rather than the song itself. The video was where most of the emotion came from.

             1 likes

      • The difference in accents is at least partly due to the fact that Kelley is from South Florida, whereas Hubbard is from rural Georgia.

           0 likes

      • Bit of a correction: Hubbard was born in the Atlanta suburbs, not in rural Georgia. However, Monroe is very much in the outer suburbs, and regardless, any part of Georgia is more culturally Southern than South Florida.

           2 likes

      • Ah, I keep making errors! Kelley is from Central Florida (the I-4 corridor), not South Florida.

           1 likes

  • Has country music really got that bad that this is called a good song?? This shit is just as bad as anything else they done.

       9 likes

  • SINCE WHEN IS AUTOTUNE PART OF REAL COUNTRY MUSIC?

       7 likes

    • Who said it was? Who said this was real country?

         6 likes

      • PRECISELY THIS SONG IS NOT REAL COUNTRY MUSIC. IS POP RUBBISH

           6 likes

        • George. EASY ON THE CAPS LOCK IT DOESN’T GET YOUR NARROW MINDED OPINION ACROSS ANY BETTER

             10 likes

  • Too much bass, the piano should’ve been replaced with more steel guitar… but I can’t hate it, it’s actually a good song and these two jackasses didn’t totally ruin it like they do anything else they touch… In fact, we actually get to see Doogie do some singing instead of just Frodo!

    I really, really, really hate to say it… but there’s finally a FGL song I at least kinda like.

       2 likes

  • Dang. 2 guns up? Certainly not as bad as their usual attempts; and a step in a more positive direction, but still not something I can listen to for longer than about a verse and a chorus. To each his/her own, but I think you’re reaching.

       13 likes

  • Very happy to see you give this a positive review and not tear it to pieces, I had a good feeling after I heard it this morning. I would not consider this song great, but it is great coming from FGL (which I think was your point and it seems others missed that). This song being a hit will be a good thing for mainstream country music, it’s a step in the right direction, and that needs to be the take home point here. Things are not just going to completely change overnight, it takes songs like this from the biggest offenders to make progress.

       6 likes

  • The video is very good, mainly because of J.D. Souther. Can’t say I like the song though.

       3 likes

  • I wouldn’t say I like this song … but it’s definitely better than anything else I have heard from these guys.

    There are a few things in the other comments I was thinking as well.

    The lyrics on the chorus are pretty hard to understand. I’m okay with that in metal, but I like my country lyrics to be easily heard.

    I HATE that they used the whole “peeled off” phrase in dealing with a girls jeans. That is one phrase that has started bugging me to no end lately. It also really, really clashed with the whole feel of the video.

    I like that other, previously silent guys vocals a lot more than the usual singers voice. If he sang lead on more tracks, I’d be a lot more likely to be able to listen to their stuff.

    All in all though, this song is definitely an improvement from what I have heard before, and I am glad about that.

       10 likes

    • I agree that the chorus vocals are a little muddy.

         2 likes

  • By golly, Brian Kelley can sing. That might be the biggest takeaway from this song for me.

       12 likes

    • In all fairness, its HARDLY been a secret all along! ;)

      Listen to the second verse of “Tip It Back”. Or the latter half of the chorus in the otherwise terrible “Take It Out On Me”. Or the chorus of “People Back Home”.

      Brian Kelley really hasn’t been hiding. It’s just the songs he is featured in more generously as a vocalist don’t get minted radio singles.

         4 likes

  • It’s ok. I’ll give FGL credit for not doing the same thing they always do, but it’s just a little too checklist heavy for me to call it a great song. I’m curious to see where they go from here, is this a one off or the start of a new trend. My guess is the first, but here’s hoping for the second.

       3 likes

  • I feel you’re giving this, with all due respect, WAY too much credit. I hardly think this deserves THAT strong a score, even if I understand how the fact this duo is eschewing the so-called “bro-country” zeitgeist is essentially a big victory for the genre in itself.

    *

    But here’s why I don’t believe “Dirt” deserves a score of Two Guns Up.

    Firstly, let’s not kid ourselves here. This is STILL pretty lazy songwriting by the genre’s overall standards. That shouldn’t come to no surprise considering their frequent collaborators Rodney Clawson and Chris Tompkins wrote this…………….but while I can credit them for growing up a bit, penning and recording something with at least some semblance of maturity, it’s still written in the form of a list song. A somewhat better list song, mind you, but a lazier form of songwriting all the same: simply listing how we connect to the dirt beneath our feet in numerous ways and then aiming to tie all the loose ends by appealing to the themes of good living and recognition of our own mortality.

    Secondly, we’re still confronted with the ubiquitous annoyance that is Tyler Hubbard’s excessively Auto-Tuned, exaggerated drawl of a vocal. And especially when it’s coupled with more stripped-down verses, it becomes even more overbearing and still gets on my nerves rather quickly (It doesn’t help matters that Brian Kelley keeps murmuring “Dirt” as a backup vocalist).

    Finally, the chorus in particular is still heavily overproduced. I can credit Joey Moi and the duo for deciding not to spit on the genre entirely following a crossover hit and another possible one in the making, especially as we’re witnessing the completely-devoid-of-country “Leave The Night On” impact “country” radio via Sam Hunt by actually maintaining some traces of instrumentation that at least nod to country…………..but the overproduction just doesn’t a song of this sort well. It’s fairly off-putting.

    *

    However, I will give credit where it is due on a couple areas.

    Firstly, despite the lazy lyrical direction Clawson and Tompkins approached this topic, they actually offer some colorful and welcomed slices of imagery in the lyrics that do a pretty job painting a realistic and impressionable picture. I can absolutely buy what they’re selling here. It seems authentically drawn from experience. It’s by no means the deepest cut you’ll come across on this sort of subject, but there’s a human connection to how they thread the imagery together that proves to be a saving grace.

    Also, despite the overproduction, I dig the way Joey Moi dropped the use of bells and whistles not relevant to the genre traditionally, and offered this track the breathing space it needs outside of the chorus so that the lyrics are identifiably what drive this song. Sure, I would have asked for some more pedal steel, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    *

    So, no, “Two Guns Up” implies a record of, if not necessarily a timeless quality, nonetheless denoting a mark of particular excellence or implying that this record will stand the tests of time and be regarded as an important cultural time capsule……….at least in my mind. This clearly is not worthy of that heightened of praise.

    However, this isn’t half-bad. Actually, because I do agree the success of this single may signal a domino effect on Music Row to demand other top artists to abandon the worst recent trends of the genre and opt for more maturity, I think I’d give this somewhere around 1 1/3 Guns Up.

    And no…………my head is not in a cocaine bucket either! ;)

       5 likes

    • Noah,

      I will try to walk you through where I decided on the “Two guns up” grade.

      After initially listening to the song last night (the video came later, so it had minimal influence on my decision), I had a rough draft grade for it as 1 1/2 guns up. In my brain by my unwritten and admittedly-arbitrary grading process, I had resolved all of the issues with Auto-tune and production, and the “checklist” lyricism by balancing them out with other positives. The reason for the 1/2 gun downgrade had to do with the fact that the song didn’t convey a story.

      But as I slept on it, I found myself in conflict, and continued to be in conflict about it all day today. That is one of the reasons this review was posted later in the day, because I kept listening and re-listening to the song, really trying to delve into what was going on and how it was resonating.

      We have said it before here many times: the problem with checklist or list-based lyricism is not actually with that style of lyricism itself, but that it has become so prevalent, and such a crutch for songwriters. But in this case I think it proves that the checklist approach can still be viable in conveying a deep human emotion.

      As I said in the review:

      “The question about this song is if it truly conveys a story, of if it is simply about a physical item (dirt) being ingratiated by adjectives. I’ve been going back and forth about this, and with it the determination if this song should be considered good, or great. On its surface, no, “Dirt” does not have a story, and this is tipped off by how the video for the song unfolds. But what “Dirt” does have is what every great song must have: the ability to mutate around the personal narrative of the individual listener until it becomes the soundtrack for memories that allow their own story to play out.

      The reason I determined that the two guns up was justified was because list lyrics or not, this song showed its ability to connect with people in a very deep manner. I had this observation myself, but then I actually went to Twitter and looked around in other places and read comments about what they were saying about this song. People were writing things out in tears, posting remembrances of passed-on loved ones. If you can connect in a very deep emotional manner with an audience through song, then nothing else matters. How you get there, whether you use Auto-tune or not, or even if the song is country, this is all superfluous. These things are important when that’s all there is to a song, but in this case, Florida Georgia Line went for the grand slam.

      Someone below mentioned Luke Bryan’s “Rollercoaster”. Another reason I decided “Dirt” needed to be served a high grade is because of significance. Do we think it’s coincidence that this song is coming from the same parent label as Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song”? Something is going on here. Borchetta is actually living up to his quote a while back about being more substantive with the music he releases.

      http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/scott-borchetta-lashes-out-against-beer-tailgate-songs

      I think we will look back at this song as a turning point. Do I personally love it, think it’s country, think it’s the best song of 2014? Of course not. But it is my job to be impartial, to look at the bigger picture. And in the bigger picture, this song is HUGE symbolically.

      We must task ourselves to seek out the positivity as vehemently as we do the negativity. “Dirt” is a victory for people who want more substance in country. Will it be short-lived? Maybe. But I see no reason why not to celebrate it.

      I knew my grade would be controversial. But in a moment like this, I would rather be too positive than too negative.

         12 likes

      • Hey Trigger,

        I always respect your take on things, and if this song truly represents a sea change in mainstream country, I will be pleased. But I also feel like I could construct a secondary negative review of this song by copying and pasting criticisms you’ve made in other reviews. For example, when you reviewed Eric Church’s last album you said:

        “I refuse to give into addition by subtraction and give undue credit to music simply because it isn’t as shitty as something else. Is The Outsiders better than Chase Rice, Cole Swindell, or whatever the flavor on the moment in pop country is? Maybe, though at least these guys have some idea of direction. But that doesn’t automatically make Eric Church and The Outsiders “good.””

        But now you write that the fact that this song is by Florida Georgia Line, a formerly crappy group, is “the exact reason to love it,” and that “another argument in its favor is that it shows vast improvement in the duo’s output.” So, it sounds like you’re saying people should like this song partially because it’s better than FGL’s other abysmal songs, which have received scathing rants up to this date.

        I’m also confused by the statement that if an artist “connects in a very deep emotional manner with an audience through song, then nothing else matters.” People also shed tears over Susan Boyle ballads, reality TV melodrama, and High School Musical 3. And if we’re going by internet comments, I think there are plenty of people who are overwhelmed with joy by bro-country anthems; people who consider “Cruise” their favorite song of all time, and so on. Does that mean those things deserve positive reviews?

        Of course, if you genuinely think this song is great, none of that matters. But it sounds like you actually have several criticisms of the song, and that you think it should liked “not based on taste,” but because of ideological reasons. I guess when I read a review of something, I’m seeking the critic’s opinion about a musical project regardless of what other people, such as those leaving YouTube comments, think. Also, I honestly don’t know how to like something in a way that is not based on taste.

           8 likes

        • Applejack,

          First off, for the love of God, let’s please keep Eric Church out of the discussions of this song. It is contentious enough, and to start secondary tangents about Eric Church is only going to make this comments section even more of a muddy mess than it already is. Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line are two completely different bands, arguably on the two opposite perspectives of popular country. I specifically didn’t cite any of the same principles I did for Eric Church here because they don’t apply. I would go into more detail of why they don’t, but all it would do is fuel more Erich Church tangents. Apples and oranges.

          As for my comments about making an emotional connection, the important part you left off was I prefaced it with, “I had this observation myself.” Please don’t portray my thoughts and research about the emotional impact of this song as being flimsy or poorly implemented. Reading people’s comments on Twitter and YouTube wasn’t the alpha and the omega of went into those statements. 7/8′s of this review was written by noon today, and I didn’t post it. Why? Because I wanted to ponder this very topic, which I had already been pondering all night. I consternation over this subject, I paced back and forth, I listened to the song over and over, I read what other people were saying, and then I listened some more. Then I walked away from it for an hour and came back. And eventually I went with my gut over what I knew would be more popular or accepted by many readers.

          There’s much more going on here that this song is simply a puzzle piece of, and I plan to have more about it soon. Country music is in a state of flux like never before, and months might as well be years. And I’m going to grade things by what my instincts tell me, not what is popular amongst commenters.

             2 likes

          • For what its worth, I have no interest in discussing Eric Church. I really couldn’t care less about that dude.The only reason I quoted your review of his album is because that just so happens to be the one in which you made the statement that you refuse to “give undue credit to music simply because it isn’t as shitty as something else.”

            The main thing I’m getting from this is that you judge music from different individual artists using totally different criteria. I will take that into consideration from now on.

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      • I immensely respect whee you’re coming from, and I appreciate you took the time to summarize the process in deciding on this final grade.

        It is for that reason why, while I felt the need to share my two cents here, I nonetheless certainly wouldn’t outright dismiss where you were coming from either. Because we all have varying criteria for how we measure musical quality both on its own merit, and what it means on a broader scale. Some reviewers focus more specifically on the poetics, while others delve more into the hermeneutics. Yet others focus more on the technical songwriting, or how it stands up as a cultural artifact of its time. And so on.

        So you certainly won’t find me laughing at you, or scorning you, or dismissing you in any way for stating your honest assessment of this release. I wouldn’t do that anyway. The way you looked at it makes sense, and I do agree with you on that it is a disservice to automatically downgrade songs just because they’re written in a list song structure. I personally think this is one of the better list songs in recent memory.

        *

        That said, I will admit one other point.

        I can’t help but wonder how the fact the single and its companion video were released together on the same day might have been deliberate for the purpose of inflating emotional acclaim right out of the gate. That, somehow, Republic Nashville cynically thought the ballad wasn’t immediate enough to be released on its own, and it needed to be accompanied by a video right out of the gate to make it resonate to a broad audience that might not have been quite as receptive otherwise.

        While I don’t doubt many on Twitter and Facebook were genuinely moved by the song as well, I can’t help but wonder if many of those responses were actually influenced by the video first, song second. And mind you I’m pontificating this not intending to take away anything from their efforts. But the fact of the matter remains that 1) sometimes singles don’t click on their own, but on plenty of documented occasions when its companion video is released, it suddenly “makes” the song and it winds up gaining a second wind……….and 2) this is the first time I can recall ANY country single being released out of the gate with a video since Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottoms Up” late last year.

        Admittedly, this might just be some strain of cynicism setting in. But I can’t help but find it interesting why they bucked the usual modus operandi of release that is 1) release your radio single, 2) promote it with two or three television performances, 3) release it to iTunes two to three weeks later, 4) tease the new song at your shows and, finally, 5) release a video for the song six to eight weeks later. It could very well be that they just wanted to score a massive Billboard Hot 100 chart placement to punctuate the dawn of their second album era, but I wonder if there was concern “Dirt” might not be as accessible to some listeners on its own.

        And make no mistake: the video really hits the heartstrings hard. I cried watching it myself toward the end. But would I have cried pretending the video didn’t exist at this time and I listened to the audio alone? All but certainly unlikely.

        *

        Not suggesting you’re wrong or anything, or that your take on this song is even skewed by the video. Just a thought or observation that I felt like sharing. Because to at least a handful of listeners, it wouldn’t surprise me if they thought the song itself was alright, but the video is what REALLY sold the song for them.

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        • I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that the video had little, if any impact on my review. The main reason is I had obtained this single last night, hours before I went to bed and was already listening and writing my review. The video came into play only a couple of hours before I posted it, when I was looking for a way to embed it so people could listen. Honestly if I had an alternative, I may have rather posted a lyrical video for this very reason. Did the quality of the video help solidify my positive opinions about the song? Possibly. But in my particular case, the review was 7/8′s written before I even saw it.

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          • Understood. And I certainly hope that I didn’t come across as being too confrontational in stating my reflections and opinions. Because I truly do admire you for saying exactly what you wished to share here! =D

            I still wouldn’t go so far as to give this Two Guns Up, but as you saw I nonetheless was discerning and open enough to recognize there’s more here to like than dislike overall, and I’d consider my review a pleasant one too. =)

            I remain convinced they still have significant room to grow, however, and at any rate I’m rooting for them to continue to get even better. Because I agree with you when you said you’d rathe be overly positive than overly negative.

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        • List songs can hold true beauty if done with a genuine sense of direction rather than the scatter-shot approach that one gets with bro-country.

          Here’s an example of such a song (this was SCM’s Song of the Year back in 2011):

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv6Lfr-Mf20

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  • You may have gotten a bit carried away here…

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  • Are my eyes deceiving me or did FGL just get two guns up for “Dirt” and Willie Nelson get 1 3/4 guns up for “Band of Brothers”? Oh crap, it doesn’t look like country music is being saved!!!

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    • Once again we’re comparing names instead of material. Positive or negative reviews should not be implied for any artist, but should be dependent on the material being reviewed. To unfairly bestow either positive grades to a legend, or negative grades to a pop country artist to somehow further the cause of Saving Country Music would be both dishonest and ineffective. In the end these are my opinions, and I share them with brutal honestly, even when I know they may blow up in my face. Because I would rather people think I’m wrong or misguided than a liar or out for popularity.

      Also in this case, you’re comparing a song, “Dirt”, and an album, “Band of Brothers”. It would be more accurate to compare “Band of Brothers” (1 3/4 of 2 guns up) and “Here’s To The Good Times” (2 guns down). Or you could compared “Dirt (2 guns up), with Willie’s latest single “The Wall” (2 guns up).

      http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/willie-nelsons-the-wall-from-the-upcoming-band-of-brothers

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  • I’ll admit that it’s better than anything else they’ve ever put out, but there’s nothing about it that strikes me as anything special. There’s nothing about it that gives me true hope that they’ll truly become a group I respect.

    At best, for me, it’s a song I wouldn’t turn the dial away from if it came on the radio. Because I also remind myself that Hubbard was involved in writing Jason Aldean’s “Black Tears,” which, no matter what your overall feelings on Aldean, is actually a great song. Yet they relegate themselves to songs like “Cruise” and “Get Your Shine On.”

    Also, something about the structure and beat of the song, reminds me of a Sister Hazel song called “Where Do You Go,” (not a country song, but that song is still far superior to this one).

       4 likes

    • YOU ARE RIGHT THE BEAT AND CHORD PROGRESSION REMINDS YOU OF SISTER HAZEL BECAUSE IT IS NOT A COUNTRY SONG. ITS A LOW QUALITY POP SONG DRESSED UP WITH A BUNCH OF CLICHES LIKE AUTOTUNE , PRETTY BOY SINGERS WITH MUSCLE SHIRTS AND HEAVY SOUTHERN ACCENTS TO PRETEND IS COUNTRY MUSIC. IT WILL BE HARD TO SAVE COUNTRY MUSIC IF WE REWARD THIS SONG WITH ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT IT IS , TRASH

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      • George, you’re really annoying. And I even agree with your comments

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        • Why annoying? I am just trying to make a point.

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          • Exactly. There’s a big difference between making a point adding substance to a conversation

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          • Making a point *and* adding substance to a conversation

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      • George, I hope you’re not ripping on Sister Hazel. I’m not in any way saying that they are a country band. But I happen to like them a lot. I think they are a very strong melodic alt-rock band with a lot of really good songs. I mentioned them solely because the beat and structure of this song reminded me of one of theirs.

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  • Trigger – will you be reviewing Luke Bryan’s latest single, ‘Rollercoaster’? I had a “wow, this song isn’t the worst I’ve ever heard” moment while listening to it, similar to what some have felt about this song. Might fall into a similar category.

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    • “Roller Coaster” didn’t impress me……………but, this time, only because it’s absolutely boring and sterile more than anything. It’s utterly inoffensive, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

      I guess the three things resembling compliments I could give “Roller Coaster” is 1) Luke Bryan’s vocals are decent and he at least tries to project emotion, 2) it does try to tell a story, and 3) hey: it’s a version of Luke Bryan not embarrassing himself for the first time in a while! ;)

      That’s about it, though. Topically and lyrically, this has been said before thousands of times and in much better ways. The production is completely polished and sterile. It follows the exact same strong structure that’s the exoskeleton of 95% of what’s coming out of Music Row in the meantime. “Pleasant-sounding” is probably the best positive adjective I can offer “Roller Coaster”, but it’s more boring than anything.

      *

      To me anyway, the most interesting thing about “Roller Coaster” is contemplating WHY it was released, as opposed to the song itself and its content.

      My theory? Capitol Nashville were actually initially intending to release “Beer In The Headlights” next…………..but then, after affirming to a growing consensus among Music Row executives that the “bro-country” trend is on the wane now…………they decided it was imperative they reverse course and steer the ship toward sentimental and nostalgic territory.

      Even the head honchos at the labels and in Music Row get it. The peak of the bro-country zeitgeist is ready to start riding off into the sunset. So, predictably, Bryan and his label held off on releasing “Beer In The Headlights”, and are instead going with a sappy, nostalgic, poppy love song. Mainly just to confirm they got the memo, too.

      To me, “Roller Coaster” was released, more than anything, as a reminder. A reminder to some of his original followers that he still knows how to cover more sentimental territory too that he earlier demonstrated with “We Rode In Trucks”, “Do I” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby”. And to tell all of the fans he recently gained: “Hey, I’m about plenty more than just Dixie cups, shakin’ it with the catfish and listening to T-Pain!”

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  • Have to admit I like this song. I heard it this morning on the radio and they were saying the new single was about to be played. I was totally closed minded and ready to hate it. When it was over, I thought it was not too bad. Heard it a second time in the afternoon and realized I really like it.

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  • Yeah, Brian can sing. I don’t care to ever hear the song again, but I like his voice.

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  • I tried I really did to give this song an open mind but listening to it the general tone of it still sounds painfully manufactured to me. If this is what most pop country was I wouldnt have the undying hate that I do have. But this is still a perfectly conscience piece of board room made trash.

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  • Like many of the other commenters, I am not particularly fond of the sonic structure of this song, as it still maintains the wall of sound effect that features so prominently in FGL’s songs in general.

    However, I have to admit that the lyrics are emotionally powerful, especially when coupled with the video. For that alone, this song deserves a high rating.

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    • I realized that I had talked about the single in detail, but not its video.

      The video is great. It got to me in a way similar to how the video for Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos On This Town” got to me (another entertainer who can really get on my nerves, but can admit without shame when he doesn’t). I’m a very emotional type so I teared up toward the very end of it. Never thought I’d say that about something accompanying a Florida Georgia Line song, but it’s true.

      Which says something, because I have never bought into my share of other songs that were designed to be emotional. For instance: “Drink A Beer”. That Luke Bryan single just seemed disingenuous in how it was going for the heartstrings but wrapped its hook around beer. It felt contrived to me and doesn’t move me in the slightest when I hear it, nor when I saw the video once.

      What more can I say? The video for “Dirt” is well-directed, had exceptional casting, and interpreted right to the heart of the lyrics.

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  • “The reason I determined that the two guns up was justified was because list lyrics or not, this song showed its ability to connect with people in a very deep manner”

    A LOT OF PEOPLE CONNECT IN A VERY DEEP MANNER WITH THE MUSIC AND LYRICS OF LIL WAYNE, THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE IS ANY GOOD.

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    • Huh?

      Look George, since you seem so concerned about the cause of saving country music and how I’m ruining it by this review, just appreciate that I see today, and this song as massive, massive victories for the cause of saving country music. Clearly you don’t agree, and I respect that, and I appreciate your concern that you think I’ve gone off the reservation. But that is how I see it.

      Arguably the very worst pop country band that exists has just released a song that they purposely want to have an impact on critics, on older listeners, on traditional country fans, and on people who just like good music. This means that something is working. Florida Georgia Line, and their label representatives and producers are listening, and we could be looking at a big directional change in the entire genre. My dissent, and your dissent is important. I may take a more pragmatic approach, I may see a big change here where you see none. But the most important thing is we let our voices be heard.

      Hate all you want on this song, it doesn’t really matter. In the greater scheme, it symbolizes a sea change.

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      • I RESPECT YOUR OPINION BECAUSE IT’S SINCERE. WE COULD GO ON FOREVER WITH THIS ARGUMENT. LETS JUST AGREE TO DISAGREE. HOWEVER JUST BECAUSE THIS SONG IS BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HAVE DONE BEFORE IS NO REASON TO GIVE IT THE HIGHEST HONOR, NEITHER IS THE FACT THAT PEOPLE CONNECT WITH IT. MY HONEST BELIEVE IS YOU MADE AN ERROR WHEN IT COMES TO JUDGING THIS SONG. THAT IS JUST MY OPINION. I RESPECT YOURS.

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        • The fact that people connect with a song is ALWAYS important. It say’s something about the listeners and the generation as a whole. We all connect with beer and summertime and party songs on some level…and yeah that sells, but setting aside the reality that this song was a response to the market…the takeaway for me from “Dirt” is that it shows the generation of listeners that FGL has been pandering to (with surface material) can appreciate something a little deeper – something reflective of what you used to hear – not sonically, but in the story. That says something positive about the country music listener… That maybe they still want that/need that substance from their music. We haven’t seen that in a while.

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        • George- Pro tip: if you want anyone to take your seriously on internet message boards, turn the caps lock off and synthesize a coherent argument.

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          • The song sucks!!!!!! Is that coherent enough for you?

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          • In defense of George , it was ‘ LARGE CAPS TUESDAY ‘ when he posted his initial comments .

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  • It’s a definite improvement over their previous material. Hopefully, it can be the final nail in the coffin of bro-country but I get the feeling FGL aren’t ready to leave that sound completely behind. Still, it gives me hope for the future of country radio.

    If nothing else, Dirt has peaked my interest in their next album.

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  • I gave it a listen though I couldn’t get into it. I’ll give the song and FGL credit though, it’s at least an effort at sounding more realistic and mature. Though like others have said before me, it’s a pretty run of the mill by the numbers song. I really never cared for the sound of autotune and it’s really all I could hear while the song played. But at least it was on the whole a token effort.

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  • Trigger –

    I don’t wholeheartedly agree with you. I have heard the song twice, and watched the video…although admittedly, I didn’t make it through the entire video. I’m sorry, i just can’t stand watching TH (not the biggest fan of listening to him, either). The material didn’t reach out and grab me as it apparently did so many other country fans across the twittersphere. I abhor the production of the song – because if it’s going to be weighty material, and something meant to have that reach-down-deep feel, why dress it up with the BS? The quietly spoken and repetitive “dirt” underneath the lead vocal… why why why?

    But…

    I will say this, coming from a duo whom I respect only for their ability to turn absolute crap into gold (read: platinum), it is a semi-expected, and yet equally semi-surprising turn. When Luke released “Drink a Beer” I knew it was specifically to placate those calling for his head after his obvious string of teenage-girl pandering dance mix singles. It was obvious. It was formulaic music business – Do the money makers…then do the faux-tear-jerker to get the sentimentalists back on your side. I didn’t know if FGL would take that step, and now they have.

    The question is…what’s gonna follow? This song seems to have won them a few fans where they didn’t have them .. and now all the “older” FGL fans are thumping their chests, saying: “See! See! We TOLD you they’re awesome.” But, there is now way this song will wash the taste out of my mouth from where they took country music in the past 18 months.

    Someone on the thread suggested that this is where they wanted to go all along – that the party vibe was simply to draw in more fans and then BOOM hit ‘em with real country. I think that’s giving the pair too much credit. I think they went where the money took them…and with this release…well, I would say they’re taking it in the direction they originally wanted to go – BUT THEY DIDN’T WRITE THE SONG. So, that’s probably not quite it either. I think The Band Perry did that… their first release (that hit radio here in LA, anyway) was nothing but diabetes-inducing sugar pop. Ever since, though, they’ve been going more and more country-folk, and the songs have been endlessly more creative than the bulk of country radio. I just don’t think FGL is headed there.

    I do agree with the assessment above about the possibility of the extreme swing to PopCountry possibly being a plan all along. The pendulum ALWAYS swings, and when it goes to one extreme, it must inevitably return to the other. The question is…will it get back to the other side in one year? Five? Ten?

    Let’s hope it’s before the greats put themselves out to pasture … because at the moment, I don’t see too many other greats on the doorstep.

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    • This song doesn’t change my overall feelings on Florida Georgia Line one iota, especially anything they’ve done in the past. If they release a whole album of more elevated material, then we’ll talk. People (not necessarily you) thinking that I am “endorsing” Florida Georgia Line don’t understand the business of musical criticism.

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      • Yeah, I don’t consider you an endorser by any means. I think you’re right to judge the song on its own. I’d almost like to see an acoustic version by the writers…just to see what the song was before it got the FGL treatment.

        The chorus for me isn’t as strong as I’d like to hear for a weighty song… but then, who am I to judge? I don’t even chart. :)

        Seriously, though … I haven’t read nearly enough of your song reviews to give a good review of this review. I don’t know where your needle rests…but if 2 Guns Up is truly the max, I wonder where songs like The Dance, He Stopped Loving her Today, That’s My Job, etc line up. I just don’t think Dirt is in that class.

        Maybe it’s unfair to judge it against songs that could be seen as pinnacle songs for their artists, but at the moment … this is the “pinnacle” substantive song for this group. I just don’t know, man. I’d love to separate song from singers, but I can’t at the moment. You’re a better man than I.

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    • The question is…what’s gonna follow? This song seems to have won them a few fans where they didn’t have them .. and now all the “older” FGL fans are thumping their chests, saying: “See! See! We TOLD you they’re awesome.” But, there is now way this song will wash the taste out of my mouth from where they took country music in the past 18 months.

      This is also how I feel. I am trying to appreciate the effort, but these guys have a long way to go to atone for their sins against the genre. But they seem to be trying, which is worth something.

      Props for the Luke Bryan comparison as well. I liked “Drink A Beer” well enough; it was miles ahead of most of what Bryan had released up to that point. As I said at my own blog, though, one song like “Drink A Beer” doesn’t make up for five songs like “That’s My Kind of Night.”

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  • I understand where you’re coming from with you’re review but I don’t think it’s sound logic. Sorry for the cliche, but you can’t polish a turd. If you got one thing right, it’s that FGL sucks so hard that it makes this song, coming from them seem like something that should be embraced.

    It was not horrible. If it came on the radio, I might not change the station. I don’t think that’s a good reason to call it a great. If this was released by Darius Rucker, Jake Owen, or some other mediocre pop country singer would it be anything other than mediocre?

    When I was a kid we had this keyboard that had different programed beats that you just hit a button to play. Really predictable beats. Songs like this remind me of that because you hear this beat (bum bum dsh bum bum bum dsh) on probably 75% of mainstream pop music since the 90s. Honestly this song never had a chance of winning me over the second I heard that beat.

    Man I really hate that dude’s voice too. Grates on me. His sidekick does not have a terrible voice, but nothing that stands out either. Ironically maybe, the fact that he’s featured on part of this song makes it even more obvious that he’s not singing at all throughout the rest of the song. I got a chuckle out of watching the video cut to him mouthing along to the lyrics and posing with his guitar.

    As to the songs message, there is no message. The video sends a message, but without the video to spell it out I would have never picked out a message from the lyrics. Just another laundry list with some of the same ingredients, parties, cute girls… albeit more tastefully incorporated with some vague sentiment and the idea about putting down roots.

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    • I AM 100 % WITH YOU ON THIS ONE.

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  • Yes – this takes us back to the old school country of 2010.

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  • Interesting …Last night our local country station had a phone -in-and- vote contest ( like the VOICE thing ) . They played this new one by Cruise Kids and another new one by a relatively unknown artist ….both songs getting their first airplay .
    CK lost out by a significant ratio .

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  • I don’t understand…I can respect your opinion Trigger, but I just don’t understand it. Have they gotten to you? Is this site going to start streaming Clear Channel broadcasts? Have the suits in Nashville bought your opinion? Is there a flock of pigs flying around over your headquarters?

    Seriously though, I disagree with your opinion of the song, but at least you’re once again showing lack of bias. Remember, just because this song may be better than most other songs on pop country radio right now does not make it a great song. Put this up against other songs that you’ve given 2 guns up and it falls flat on its overly made-up face.

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    • “Remember, just because this song may be better than most other songs on pop country radio right now does not make it a great song.”

      This, and the idea that the song showed improvement are being thrown around as the reasons I decided to give this song a high grade. They were factors, but as I explained explicitly in the review, the reason the high grade was given was because the song showed the ability to touch listeners in a deep and resounding manner.

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  • Trigger, I dont understand your logic. FGL’s “Dirt” being considered a great song is like calling a 500lb man who lost 100lbs skinny… Even if these guys underwent country music gastric bypass surgery they’d still have stretch marks, a disgusting turkey neck, and sagging skin… A good start- yes… A great song- NO

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    • A lot of people have been using this logic as if it was the crux of my review and my argument of why this song is great. It is not. I think this song is great on its own right, as a written song meant to touch listeners in a deep and resounding manner. Yes, the fact that it shows improvement helped, but this is just one of many factors that went into the review.

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      • It’s funny because I totally agree with your review about the song’s content and I understand where you’re coming from… I just take issue with your classification/rating. I could even get on board with the “Two Guns Up” but it should have a huge asterisk. I think you are really doing a disservice to some really great songs by putting this song in the same category. Great songs are rare this is not a rare song; without context it is at best an earnest ground-rule double, but considering it’s FGL… home run.

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  • Trigger, you should comment or write an article about the wave of good singles from the biggest names in country right now.

    “My Eyes” by Blake, “Meanwhile Back at Mamas” by Tim McGraw, “Roller Coaster” by Luke and now “Dirt” by FGL are 4 non-bro country songs that are all actually pretty good. We’re starting to have some balance on the radio now. Even “Cold One” by Eric isn’t too bad (though for him he’s had way better). The biggest offenders on the radio are the guys releasing the singles from their debut albums, not the “Entertainer of the Year” typer candidates.

       4 likes

    • Something along these lines is coming up soon.

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  • it’s not the worst song ever made, fine, I can agree with that. It seems to me that Micky and Motorcars have a new song out too. It actually came out a couple of weeks ago. What’s the hold up? No one is blaming you for reviewing this song, but come on, there are a lot of indi country bands that could use the recognition as well.

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    • Saving Country Music is posting more reviews now for indi country bands than in its seven year history, and anyone who tells you any different is either lying or uninformed. Yet despite the traffic to this site doubling in just the last year, and growing 8 fold over the last three, there are even less people reading those reviews than there were 5 years ago. I remain committed to serving this content to the music community, but nobody, NOBODY reads it, aside from a few diehard hold outs who actually do “support music”, and don’t just say they do because it’s popular on Facebook.

      If fans of indi music do not start actually supporting the content looking to support these bands, it is going to disappear. It already has from many outlets across the internet, as indie labels pass over sites like Saving Country Music to do the exclusive album and song streams and video premiers and through corporate blogs (who will receive half the traffic to them as a site like SCM) that indi fans will actually interact with.

      The problem with coverage of indi country bands is not Saving Country Music. I have been, and continue to be committed to covering it as much as I possibly can. It is YOU, the reader who is not doing your part.

      ” It seems to me that Micky and Motorcars have a new song out too. It actually came out a couple of weeks ago. What’s the hold up?”

      See, this is the problem. I could write 10 reviews of indi songs or albums a day, and there would still be someone who would get left behind, and someone would take that name and use it as evidence that I don’t support indi country. Furthermore, a statement like this proves my theory that most indi fans don’t actually come to site like this to learn about music. They come here to have their opinions reinforced about bands and music they already know about.

      If I thought writing reviews for indi bands was the sole way to save country music, that’s all I would be doing. But in truth, it is the worst thing I can do because nobody reads it, yet I still get shit for not doing it enough, and it results in lost readers.

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      • “a statement like this proves my theory that most indi fans don’t actually come to site like this to learn about music. They come here to have their opinions reinforced about bands and music they already know about. ”

        I’m afraid you’re partially right about that.

        Do I need to read another article about how great Johnny Cash was? No, I don’t.

        However, I have been turned on to the likes of Tom V, Calamity Cubes, Sturgill Simpson, Willy Tea, Left Lane Cruiser, etc., by coming to this site. Hell, Weber’s deck is 35 minutes from where I live, and it took reading a blog from some journalist in Texas for me to hear about the venue. The same goes for Bayport BBQ. Some of my favorite artists were discovered by reading your articles and reviews.

        I think you do an invaluable service for fans like me, and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so in the future. If coming to this site means I have to wade through the pop country bashing and Taylor Swift articles to find good new music with soul, then so be it.

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      • I am sure this has already been proposed a multitude of times, Trigger, but I have never seen an answer to it myself.. Have you considered bringing on another writer or two, even if just for the sake of reviews? I know the old saying about opinions, and everyone is a critic these days, so I understand the challenge of finding such people with whom you would want to represent your site in any way.

        As you say, something will always get left behind because there is too much out there to weed through and you are just one guy (granted you accomplish a lot with this site as just one guy, that’s for sure).

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        • I am, and have always been open to publishing the work of other writers on the site. Surprisingly, I receive very few submissions, and many that I do receive are not up to snuff to publish. I have done a few guest posts over the years though, and am totally open to doing more. Unfortunately, this won’t solve the problem of nobody reading reviews, here or anywhere else. This is not just an SCM problem. I can post all the reviews I want. If nobody is reading them, they’re completely ineffective at promoting the artists, albums, or songs. All they become is penances so readers get off your back, so that you keep labels and artists happy. Everybody wants to see reviews. They want to know they’re there because it feels like something good and positive is happening for music. But in truth, they’re completely symbolic in many cases. That’s why no matter how many you post, it will never be enough. On rare occasions they can be effective, and when I aggregate all my reviews into mid-year and end-of-year lists, it does a lot of good for both the music and readers.

          Another reason lending to people thinking that I no longer write positive reviews, or I don’t write enough of them is because the amount of overall articles have increased on the site right beside the increase in reviews. Last year at this time, I was posting about 7 articles a week. Two weeks ago, I posted 17, and posted an average of 15 a week now. So this can make it look like less attention is being paid to positive music reviews, when overall, it’s actually more.

          I truly believe we are in one of the biggest transitional periods in country music right now in the genre’s history; bigger than any time in the 7 years I’ve been doing this. Country music is now the biggest genre in America, it’s about to split in two, you have the best-selling artist of all time coming out of retirement, the biggest current artist about to release an album (Taylor Swift), and all these things are happening all at once and I feel the need to try to cover it all as best I can because these issues are very important. I know that in the long run what that does is it puts a bunch of pop names in the titles of the stories of what is supposed to be a independent website. But this period will not last forever, and many of these issues affect independent artists in even greater ways than posting an album review for them can.

          Like the song or not, what “Dirt” symbolizes is that we are rattling the industry’s cage, and they’re listening. We’ve taken this fight from stupid little blogs and Facebook posts, to the front steps of Music Row’s biggest firms. And by voicing out complaints so loud they can’t hear themselves think, they’ve been forced to answer in substantial ways. The work being done here and other places is working, however incrementally. And it’s not the moment to back down now, just because people are tired of seeing Garth and Taylor’s name. Nobody is being forgotten. Then independent artists that deserve better are still top of mind, and I feel confident their day in the sun is coming (see Sturgill Simpson).

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          • Oh I agree with you entirely. The ‘pop’ stories are completely relevant, and I wasn’t implying there aren’t enough reviews. Every time I log on to the site, there is at least one in the splash page.. and the volume of articles has increased to the point where if I skip my daily site visit, I have to hit the archives to see everything I may have missed that got moved off of the front page.

            I was asking about additional writers for reviews simply because more reviews can never hurt, in my opinion.

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  • I’m conflicted on my feelings about this song. I was raised on a 3rd generation family farm in NW Kansas, and I can really identify with some of the lyrics and sentiments in this song. Musically, nothing really bothers me about it, either. I completely believe that this is the best FGL song I’ve heard, although I haven’t made any effort to seek out their music. I think I’m an intelligent enough music fan to give a fair chance to music from an artist/group I don’t normally like. All that being said, the best I can say about this song is that it seems to be a small step in the right direction.

    I just can’t shake the feeling that both the song and video are pandering to the same old audience. It just feels like another contrived piece of sentimental country marketing.

    I guess for a band like this, I’d have to consider an innocuous piece of radio fodder to be a win, though. Two guns up? Not in my eyes, but I respect your opinion.

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  • I appreciate your review but will have to respectfully disagree, I just can’t put aside the awful stuff they have already done. That performance at the CMT awards was just disturbing, it had my fiancé terrified.

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  • Decent. Not something I’d go out of my way to revisit (the main guy’s vocals still grate on me a bit, and I find the otherwise pleasant tune a tad forgettable), but I wouldn’t lunge for the channel-changer/mute button if I stumbled across it again.

    Lyrically, I’m sure there are lots of better songs — especially in country — that use specific, concrete images as a jumping-off point to tell larger stories or simply speak to a range of human experience, but I think it’s nice that the FGL boys are at least trying to tap into that tradition.

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  • it may not be the best written or recorded, but at least it strikes more emotion than “hey let’s all get drunk and be dumb rednecks.” not that I ain’t done that before but that’s not my whole existence, and now finally there’s a pop country song out there to relate another part of my life to. I’m with trigger on this one, I would like to encourage them to keep going this direction

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  • To nobody in particular:

    For folks who who know about the website Farce The Music, it tends to have very similar views to Saving Country Music as far as pop country, if probably taking it to an even greater extreme of sarcasm and undercutting. As part of both our jobs, we have to listen to many awful pop country songs every day, and as such, have gained the ability to see vast differences in these songs compared to most independent fans who may never interact with them at all, and all these songs sound the same to them (which is something I’ve seen numerous times in this very comments section).

    Anyway, here is his review, and his sentiments virtually mirror mine. Mind you, we don’t always agree on songs, albums, or artists. But I think “Dirt” truly is significant enough where people who study these such things have a consensus about how significant it is.

    http://www.farcethemusic.com/2014/07/single-review-florida-georgia-line-dirt.html?spref=tw

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    • Lol..So the guy who makes funny pictures for a living likes it too and we’re supposed to ooh and ahh?

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      • Not asking anybody to “ooh and ahh” I just thought it was an interesting point.

        And thought pictures are what Farce The Music is based around, he has always taken the time to write reviews and other type of material.

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  • The truth is the musicians and producers that work in Nashville are absolute top level pro players, arrangers, and recording engineers.

    I like this tune

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  • Seeing a banal, bro-country group occasionally get it right is rather meaningless to me.

    I am certainly not going to run out and buy a FGL CD or a ticket to one of their shows.

    I don’t even pay attention to bands like this.

    This is your site, Trig, and I am not faulting you for reviewing the song, but I can’t make myself sit down and listen to bro-country tunes.

    I don’t find them blatantly offensive (hurtful to my ears or triggering my gag reflex), like I do most pop country tripe.

    I go to quite a few NASCAR races and I hear a lot of bro-country artists being played as I walk by fans tailgating at their parking places, but not enough to differentiate the artists.

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  • Still having a tough time enjoying anything FGL (I have only heard 2 previous songs) but the parts of the song I did/do enjoy is when the silent partner sings. Him I can take, the other guy not so much.

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  • Brantley review coming out?

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    • Haven’t decided if I’m going to review the whole album, or just deal with the singles as they’re released. As has been suggested in this comments section, there’s probably more worthy music to focus on, but we’ll see.

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  • So FGL morphing into the new, younger version of Montgomery Gentry without the stupid hats is a good thing? I am so weary of bombastic, power chord laden choruses on modern country songs I don’t care who is singing them! The cute gal who plays Rosie in the video ids the only redeeming feature I can find in this whole deal…

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  • It does have more substance, I just cannot stand their voice. It was a neat concept for the song though. I would have even preferred it sung by Luke Bryan or Eric Church.

    For some reason, I just cannot stand the voices of Florida Georgia line, just like I can’t stand Jake Owen no matter what he sings. Doesn’t help that both of those artists look like metrosexual aristocrats who are playing dress up at a thrift store.

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  • Meh
    I dont need to hear it again.

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  • Wow Trigger, I am impressed. In fact, the only think impressive about this song, is your article.

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  • One of the things that bugs me about the current state of country music is it’s fixation on the rural south. While obviously the ancestral homeland of country, honky tonk is just as much at home in a dive bar in Flint as it is in Dixieland. It’s owned by Blue Collar people communally, as well as other walks of life. One of the things I enjoy about Canadian country (I’m from Michigan btw) is the unique regionalism of the tunes that avoid cliche and caracatures. Which is why I think Tim Hus and Corb Lund are absolute genius songwriters. Mostly, I’m just tired of dumb rednecks in my town waving the Stars and Bars around in the heartland. Also, I’ll have to disagree with your rating. While more palatable than their other offerings, it’s absolutely a checklist about 3 pages long. And unfortunately, it’s centered around youth or bygone days once again. One more point-the sidekick can fuckin sing! Who knew?

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  • Trig I really enjoyed and appreciated reading this review, and honestly find it as one of your best yet. The thing that I really see highlighted by this piece, and is frustrating me the most, actually has nothing to do with the article itself, or even the song for that matter, but rather the comments that follow. I saw the same thing with your recent Zac Brown reveiw and was floored by so many people reactions. Everyone is so set in their ways that they aren’t willing to take an objective look at each individual song that is being released. When Elvis first started out, people really struggled with how different he was, and now look how society views him. Now I am in no way comparing the current country music acts to Elvis, that would be a complete insult, but what I am saying is that people are not willing to hear anything that doesn’t sound like Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings. I truly believe this is the greatest threat to country music because it is putting a stranglehold on the genre. Like you said, this song isnt great but I would much rather see baby steps in the right direction rather than giant steps in the wrong direction like Luke Bryan and Tim Mcgraw. Going back to my mentioning the Zac Brown article, so many people kept bringing up Chicken Fried and were completely dicrediting everything they have done since then. This is probably a complete hypothetical, but in the event that Fla/Ga line were to really bring more depth to their music people, epsecially many of those who follow this site, would never give them a chance. These are just two examples becasue I know this goes for many other current artists as well. We all hate “bro-country”, but in all honesty our unwillingness to listen to each new song realeased from an objective perspective may be an even greater threat to the future of country music.

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    • This is a very good point Josh. I think that music is one of the primary battlegrounds in the current culture war, and just under politics in regards to polarization. We’re taught to choose a side, not give any ground, and completely discredit the other side. In the end nobody’s best interests are served and we all loose in ever-present conflict and gridlock. I have participated in this as well. But I pray for the wisdom to know where to pick my battles, and where to see the bigger picture. As I said in the review above, if you can unite people of different musical backgrounds with a song, you’re dealing in rare currency, and that should be rewarded.

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  • Trigger, I respect your opinion. But after reading this review I really expected more from the song. If this is the best that “bro-country” can do, we’re in trouble. I’m just not hearing how this song is different than the rest of the radio crap.

    Don’t go soft on us, Trig. ;)

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  • This song is actually not that bad. I mean I wouldn’t go out of my way to hear it again but it’s pretty good.

    What kills it for me, though, is the Autotune. If it’s subtle and I can’t detect it that’s fine but it’s pretty prominent on this track. Also assuming it’s prominent on 99% (100?) of FGL’s other music. If you can even remotely sing DO NOT USE THE DAMN THING. Ugh. Fucking producers.

    Plus the production on the guitars sounds way too clean but that’s not necessarily their problem, seems that almost all radio country has super clean sounding music.

    So I personally would give it 1 and 1/8 guns up, but that’s me.

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  • You have cheapened the 2 Guns Up rating, at least IMHO.

    2GU should be reserved for the best of the best. It should be a little tougher to get than this. Don’t just throw it out there because Junior took a ride without training wheels. Make him ride around the block first, before you take him to Dairy Queen.

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  • You guys are all saying that this song is not country, but I just have one question to ask. In today’s world, what is country music? I’m not disagreeing with you, but if you go by today’s country, there are few songs that you can say are more country than this. Look at today’s mediabase chart and show me 5 songs more country with a reasonable explanation of how it is more country in your book. This is not country by 1980s or 90s standards. But 2010s country is not that.

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  • I’m sending George a new keyboard for christmas

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  • Alright so I don’t think it deserves a two guns up based more in the fact if auto-tune than anything. My opinion it’s not a good country song it’s a good song from fgl though, and did I hear both Hubbard and the other guy whose name I can’t remember sing, I didn’t expect that. Also on brochettes and the deeper music being released he see that bro country is a fad he sees consumers from 18-24 that were formerly underground getting a bigger voice as they’re the ones buying music and the ore-teens and soccer moms who listen to bro-country are switching to pop stations. What bro-country caused, the monogenre is it’s death Borchetta sees that he’s out for money and that’s not a bad thing but I hope nobody tries to pass it off as an epiphany.

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  • Trigger,

    I do not like the group, but I enjoyed your review. If they want to take steps toward producing traditional country music, then this song is a good place to start. They have talent and I wish them well if this is the path they wish to take. I don’t think I could look at them as being anything other than a countrified version of corporate pop, such as the Backstreet Boys or NSync, no matter what they do from here on out. However, if this is a small sign that Nashville decision makers have heard the cries from the populace that country needs to rise again, then I am happy.

    P.S. – I do not think you like the song that much, I think you are just in a shocked euphoria that they released something that sounds semi-traditional.

    Thank you for your work on this site, it really is as good as it gets for music coverage.

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  • First time poster…love your site.

    This is my problem with a review like this. It really doesn’t stem from the fact you gave them a decent review. Fine…they put out a “decent” country song…so what! and who cares!

    What you are doing is enabling the behavior. It’s like a kid getting disciplined repeatedly by their parents then doing what is right for a day. So what!…I can promise you these tool bags will revert back to their crap music ways. So why enable them with a good review when they and you know that nothing has changed.

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    • Hit post on accident.

      I just have a problem with this…in that you and I both know they won’t “walk the talk” in terms of longevity (producing legit country).

      Give me a full album of sincere country music…and I’ll give them a listen. Enabling that behavior from a blog like this with a single track off one album…to me, undermines what you are trying to accomplish. At this point anyway.

      Trigger, I respect you and love your site, as it is a respite for all of us. But I have to say, at this point in the game FGL has made their bed. Until they can prove to us that “dirt” is the norm, I personally have zero interest in respecting their product or intentions.

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      • ” Until they can prove to us that “dirt” is the norm”

        This is not a review of Florida Georgia Line as a duo, it is about this song specifically. I have not changed my views on Florida Georgia Line one iota, and I too agree that all this is is just one song until they prove to us its more, which don’t think they will, but still hope that they do.

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    • Enabling them? What am I their cool uncle supplying them with beer and cigarettes?

      I’m flattered at your insinuation that I can somehow affect Florida Georgia Line’s music. And in truth, this song is very likely the result of their criticism, but of which I am only a very small part. But in the end when it comes to reviews, my job is to be impartial and honest, and not worry about what anybody thinks, what anyone’s reaction is going to be, or how it might affect things in the greater world. If it truly does “enable” them, then so be it. That’s not going to motivate me to lie about how I feel about this song.

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  • I listen to the local stations when I’m driving. One thing I have noticed is that the stations around me have cut out the main rapping verse in ” This Is How We Roll.” I know most here would immediately turn the dial when they come on but has anyone else noticed this? I’m hoping it’s another sign that this bubble is bursting, but it could just be wishful thinking on my part.

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  • I’d rather listen to this than “National Working Woman’s Holiday” or some of the other twaddle the other crap I’ve heard since 1990 or so. These guys are harmless.

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  • This is lyrically better than their other singles but the music, vocals and poppy overproduction still make it sound like another Nickelback B-side pop/rock song. I’d deduct at least a half gun just for the synthesized? drum beat and heavy autotuned vocals. I’m thinking some better songs got lower than 2 guns. Maybe you added a half gun for their new, better direction? FGL has been asking for collaboration suggestions so that’s good I guess and the answers I saw were country artists, not rappers.

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  • I personally think this song is miles ahead of Jason Aldean’s new song.. Just a thought

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  • So I finally got around to listening to “Dirt.”

    I mostly agree with your review, Trigger. Not sure I’d call it “great” on its own — though it’s definitely at least not bad — but it is great compared to their previous output.

    Yeah, I know. Damning with faint praise. But I don’t roll my eyes at it or wish I could change the station like I’ve done with everything else they’ve done so far. I won’t be turning off my Jason Boland or Reckless Kelly for it, but if this is the direction they’re headed in, I certainly can’t complain. Baby steps, as they say.

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  • I don’t care if this was a positive review out not…Fuck these two douche bag pieces of Shit…I hate them, I hate the crap they call music….fiddle and steel is coming back…look at artists like Troy Bullock…Kacie Musgraves…Melody Williamson…they are taking over!…with massive underground followings…FAGALINE can take their “I’m sorry for ruining a hundred years worth of music” release of “dirt” and stuff it up their gay asses!

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