record reviews

Florida Georgia Line

Album: “Dig Your Roots”

Grade: B

Whatever roller coaster ride country music is on these days, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard are surely riding in the front car with their arms raised. And if the early returns on Florida Georgia Line’s latest release, “Dig Your Roots,” are any indication, it might be a while before the bro-country duo’s ride comes to a complete stop.

The band’s current single, “H.O.L.Y.,” a love song with religious overtones — “you’re my kinda church” is the closing line to an effusive jumble of gushy devotion — has grabbed the top spot on Billboard Hot Country Songs for weeks. It’s one of many signs that the rambunctious party ramble the band is known for may have softened a little. Love, faith and family are consistent themes here. The boys hint broadly that they have done some growing up.

Not that there isn’t rambunctiousness on the album. Any portrait of the state of country music in 2016 would have to account for a reggae-infused pairing with Ziggy Marley on “Life Is A Honeymoon” and a grab-bag of references to Jimi Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and George Strait helps sustain the party vibe that made the band popular in the first place.

—Scott Stroud, Associated Press

Britney Spears

Album: “Glory”

Grade: B

If there’s any hope that Spears could return to pop-star status, “Glory” is her best bet. The 12-track groovy set is much better than 2012’s “Britney Jean” and brighter than 2011’s “Femme Fatale.” While pop wanes off of electronic dance music and borrows again from R&B, Spears has taken note and jumped on the bandwagon. And right, Britney Spears and R&B should never be in the same sentence, but these songs aren’t authentically Britney (has she ever been authentic?)

Lead single “Make Me...,” featuring rapper G-Eazy, is a slick, sexy tune that showcases a stronger side of Spears, as does “Slumber Party,” “Love Me Down,” “Just Luv” and album opener “Invitation.”

—Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press

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