Jul 9, 2014

Single Review: Florida-Georgia Line - Dirt

FGL's "Dirt" is a virtually hookless listing song that covers well-worn ground (pun not intended?). It features a bombastic chorus with difficult-to-discern lyrics. Included in the aforementioned laundry list are bro-country tropes like jeans being peeled off, trucks circling up for a party, bonfires, and boots being used for something other than work. All this from the guys who never met a cliché, irrelevant rapper, canned beat, or cheesy slang phrase they didn't like. "Cruise," "This is How We Roll," "Get Your Shine On"…the list of grievances against Florida-Georgia Line is virtually endless despite them being only one album into their career.

So, why do I like this song as much as I do? Head injury? Reduced expectations? Secret payoff by their record label? All these have been offered up as possible reasons for my positive comments about the song on social media. The answers to those questions are: maybe, possibly, I wish.

"Dirt" is an actual country song, or as close as you're likely to get on mainstream radio these days. I know what you're thinking… "what do you want, a cookie? It's supposed to be country!" Yet, in this day of Sam Hunt's Jason Mraz stylings, Taylor Swift's complete shift to pop, and Hunter Hayes' teenage girl-friendly pop-rock, something that actually resembles country is an anomaly. In FGL's own repertoire, this song is an anomaly. 

It's a serious song that straddles the divide between ballad and mid-tempo anthem. The titular dirt is the common element that ties together all the memories, future plans and simple philosophical musings (someday you'll return to it) on the cycle of rural and small town life. Sure it lists lots of country things, and no, there's no storyline, but the details and the manner in which they are related feel, if not fresh, at least passionate and authentic. It's a mature and moving song, if you let it be.

"Dirt" is also a very good song, and probably the only FGL song I don't mind getting stuck in my head on an endless loop. There's not much range but it's improbably catchy. The other dude even gets to sing a verse and hey, he sings better than the main bro (which I know isn't a high bar to clear, but still).

"I wouldn't have told that" is what some of you are thinking now. Even had a tweet saying they'd lost respect for FTM. Not sure if it was serious or not, but if my opinion on one mainstream song sways your confidence in FTM's credibility, please find your way to the unfollow or unfriend button or make your way to a blog that only speaks glad tidings of gritty, bar-touring independent artists (who we love by the way). We don't want you unhappy. 

I owe it to myself and Farce's readers to be honest - if I like something or think it has strong artistic merit, I'm going to tell you about it. I don't care if it's a song from one guy picking a homemade banjo on a washtub in his yard, a homeless rapper from Taiwan, or a millionaire pretty boy… the song is the thing. And "Dirt" is a good one.

By the old ".99 Cent Review" grading method:


  1. Much like I told Trigger, I probably wouldn't rate the song quite as highly as either of you have (even though it might actually get rounded off closely to eighty-five cents if it symbolically sets off a domino effect on Music Row to invest in somewhat more substantive material).............but on its own merit, there's still more I like about this than dislike, and I'd give it at least 75 cents.

    I still am annoyed instantaneously by Tyler Hubbard's excessively Auto-Tuned exaggerated drawl. I still find the chorus in particular overly produced and succumbing to the same old softer verse-loud chorus hot-and-cold dynamic that dominates almost all popular music. And this still follows a lazier kind of songwriting structure that is the list song.

    But (and I'm saying this speaking to the song and not allowing the fact the video was released the same day influence the way I feel about the song)..........the lyrics offer some colorful and welcomed slices of imagery that do an exquisite 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 and has been much missed in the corporate genre as of late.

    Also, despite the overproduction in the chorus most notably, I have to tip my hat to Joey Moi for taking it easy on the bells and whistles when it comes to the verses, and offering "Dirt" the breathing space it needs so that the attention is firmly set on the lyrics: which are truly what drives this song. I like how the light flourishes of pedal steel atmospherically set a more intimate tone with the listener from the onset, and faint fiddle and acoustic strums between lyrics allow the listener some time to paint a picture in one's head instead of overwhelming you with lyrics in rapid-fire succession. I mean, if I had my druthers, i would have asked for even more pedal steel in the chorus, but beggars can't be choosers, right?


    So..............I for one respect your opinion, and my own isn't far off either. I'd rather hear you be honest regardless of the type of song than subsume to a hipster high horse a la Pitchfork or Sputnikmusic.

    As for Florida Georgia Line, hope you are continuing to listen to what people are saying about your music now. Because, like it or not, we are all rooting for established artists to get better just as we are wishing for up-and-coming and/or independent artists to gain visibility. We, including their close-minded detractors, should all be rooting for Florida Georgia to get better instead of being perpetually dismissive.

  2. I'm willing to respect the fact that some reviewers think this is a great song, as long those who disagree with that opinion aren't labeled as close-minded, reactionaries, haters, or otherwise. Some people just don't think it's very good, regardless of the fact that it's FGL.

  3. Certainly, Anon. My grumbling in this review was probably an over-response to a few people thinking I must have literally lost my mind to have such an opinion. If someone gives this song an actual chance, despite FGL's history, and still doesn't like it... so be it. There are celebrated Americana acts I can't get into. Everybody's got an opinion, some just have uninformed opinions (not you).

  4. Farcer,

    Well said. I appreciate the response. (I was the anon poster above.)

    By the way, I love this website, I read it practically everyday. Thanks.

  5. They played this on Jimmy Fallon the other night. I was almost asleep, so I couldn't really make a judgment on whether I liked it. However, it did bother me that there were some great steel guitar licks but no steel guitar on stage...

  6. I simply cannot listen to FGL. Tyler's voice grates on me like fingernails on a chalkboard. Totally subjective opinion - but I can't stand them. And I like country music - I just turn the volume down when they come on.



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