On This Date: Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” Was #1 On Country Charts In 2013, Forever Changing Country Music…For The Worse

Florida Georgia Line country music
YouTube/Florida Georgia Line

When you first heard “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, it was truly one of those “where were you moments” that happen only a handful of times in your life.

For me, I was at a small town bar, and after hearing the song for the first time, it was certainly a “I’ll remember this forever” moment. Why? Because I knew I would never go back to a place that played a song like that, and country music would never be the same after “Cruise” hit the radio waves.

Many draw the origin of “bro-country” back to “Cruise,” and if it’s not where it started, it’s definitely where it exacerbated pop-country. The song is the best-selling country song on digital platforms of all time, and single-handedly gave people the wrong idea of country music and turned them away from the genre.

All of the hard, laborsome work that country greats like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams (Jr. and Sr.) did to put country music on the map was unfolded and ruined by one single song (in my humble opinion). The first time the band released “Cruise,” it did okay commercially, but quickly dropped out of the Billboard Hot 100 in only a month.

That’s when Florida Georgia Line crafted a diabolical plan of musical reverse psychology, asking themselves “what if we made the song worse so that people thought it was better?”

The “country band” then called upon the services of Nelly, who is a talented rapper and artist in his own respect, but must have been paid a ton of money to drop in on a feature for “Cruise.”

However, adding in the rapper seemed to do the trick, because once Florida Georgia Line released the remix, the song went on to log 24 straight weeks at the number one spot on the Hot Country Songs chart, which was the longest running single at the time. It was eventually surpassed in 2017 by another “road-themed” bro-country track “Body Like A Backroad” by Sam Hunt.

And if we are being honest, the “bro-country craze” (we’re still not really sure who listens to it all the time) really hit its stride thanks to Florida Georgia Line’s leadership in the sub-genre. It also lead to country purists calling it the “death of modern country.”

I wouldn’t ever link a music video to Florida Georgia Line on one of my articles, so instead I tracked down a parody of their song “Cruise” that’s not great, but still somehow better than Florida Georgia Line’s version. The guy spins the lyrics into a story about getting ready to go on (and then going on) a cruise.

That simple lyrical change adds tremendous depth to the song comparative to what Florida Georgia Line originally did. There were also a shocking amount of parodies to the “country” song that focused on Tom Cruise, but none of them made the cut when it lined up against this one.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock