This Florida Georgia Line Hall of Fame exhibit is unfortunate

John Shearer, Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

If you love country music, you must love the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Of course, you may have a high level of frustration with the CMA committee presiding over the inductions themselves for being so stingy over the past few years, only allowing three new inductees each year, which has kept many of deserving legends on the outside. in the official induction.

But you won’t find a building housing more country music artifacts, or an institution doing more to preserve country music history and ensure it remains alive in modern consciousness than the Country Music Hall of Fame. .

Over the past few years, the Country Music Hall of Fame has also made an effort to ensure it’s relevant to all country music fans by commissioning rotating exhibits on more contemporary artists, so Mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa oogle at all the nostalgic artifacts of artists of yore, young fans may find something they’re interested in here and now.

But this expansive “Mix It Up With Florida Georgia Line” exhibit that the Hall of Fame recently opened on Feb. 6 is truly an unfortunate and frankly shortsighted move by the museum, overlooking the largely polarizing nature of the Bro-Country duo, the l continued erosion of their popularity, their near-universal condemnation among critics, and now, the implosion of the duo itself.

While this may irritate the blood of true country music fans, historians have an obligation to tell the story of country music in its full and integral form. And when the history books are written about the country music era between 2012 and 2016 or so – and will persist for years after all until today – Bro-Country will and should be credited for dominating the popular country era, as it did, and thanks in large part to the popularity of Florida Georgia Line, and specifically their song “Cruise”, which was the catalyst for the Bro-Country era.

But in regards to the wider reception of the duo’s music and how the story judges that is certainly for further interpretation and litigation. “Questionable,” “disappointing,” and “embarrassing” are some of the adjectives that currently accompany Florida Georgia Line’s reign and influence in country music, marked by the genre’s deteriorating lyrical quality, sonic boundaries of genre eroding and women all but disappearing from the charts as one Florida Georgia Line impersonator after another emerged from the woodwork to secure No. 1 radios.

Of course, these are just some people’s opinions of the time, but not everyone’s. Florida Georgia Line has fans. But their lack of quality and authenticity was quickly codified as they began to be shunned by award shows despite their commercial importance, and then that commercial importance began to quickly dry up as they fell out of favor with fans. fickle. Their No. 1 reign only really lasted about five years, and in 2018 they were more of a punchline trying to maintain relevance than an influential country band. Florida Georgia Line’s version of Bro-Country definitely shone. But that also fell apart quickly.

And perhaps the most unfortunate moment of this new Country Hall of Fame exhibit is the timing. Alongside the unveiling of the Hall of Fame display, Brian Kelley of the duo said People that he and Tyler Hubbard were “…taking a break from recording our music,” and they are going “Support each other in the next chapter of our musical and creative journey, which is going to be individually for a while.”

Florida Georgia Line has committed to performing at six country music festivals this summer, but other than that they haven’t really been an active duo in recent years, even before the most recent announcement to “take a pause”, so this news should it not be a surprise to the Hall of Famer or anyone else. In November 2020, friction between the two over the US presidential election and COVID-19 stoked breakup rumors. In January 2021, they were looking for more freedom from each other. Brian Kelley has since released a solo album.

It’s fair to wonder if Florida Georgia Line is even a going concern at this point, so why bother with Hall of Fame exposure? The money is probably still too good for them to give up entirely, and it will likely continue to be. But Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley have been missing for over a year. They’re just not up to date, which is supposed to be the whole point of exhibits like this.

And what does Hall of Fame exposure entail? Designer ripped jeans, a pair of Timberland boots, a baseball cap that one of them wore in a music video, and a box of Wheaties with their picture on it. Not just Florida Georgia Line, but lots of exhibits for more modern artists really help show how generic and uninteresting many of today’s country music stars are, especially when displayed alongside the costumes rhinestones, cowboy hats, iconic instruments and garish artifacts from the biggest names in country music.

Looking at the big picture, will massive commercial artists whose careers span the entire Bro-Country era, such as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, end up inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as permanent inductees? Even the idea might put off some, but it will probably be due to their prolonged and undeniable commercial success, but hopefully not before many other deserving artists have had their chance.

But when it comes to artists like Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, and a few others whose legacies were more of a flash in the pan and tied to trends that quickly faded, that will pose a much more interesting question. Of course, they will have the sales stats and chart numbers to at least be considered. But Bro-Country can also be seen as similar to baseball’s steroid era, with asterisks and heartfelt questions about authenticity, and whether these artists truly deserve enshrinement in the holiest institution in the game. country music.

And when the full story of Bro-Country is told, it will be a story marked largely by criticism and ridicule. After all, the name is an understatement itself. And specific to Florida Georgia Line, the story ends in an implosion, despite the inevitable Vegas residencies, and other nostalgic cash grabs that are sure to come in the future for the duo.

And also telling the full story of Bro-Country, it will end with how he inspired a backlash and country music renaissance that culminated in Chris Stapleton’s historic wins at the 2015 CMA Awards, Sturgill’s win Simpson for Best Country Album of 2017, the rise of independent artists such as Cody Jinks and Tyler Childers, and the insurgence of more authentic artists who have turned the tables on the mainstream, exposing acts like Florida Georgia Line for the vapid, fleeting performers that they were and probably not worth remembering inside the vaunted walls of the Hall of Fame, not now, not in the future, historical context aside as a note of country music footer.

About John Crowder

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