New Criticals

I first encountered “Cruise” on VH1 at around 6am while stumbling towards the coffeemaker, and while I can’t say I loved it immediately, its garish video was impossible to turn away from. Questions multiplied: who was this cheeseball lovechild-of-Tim-and-Billy-Riggins bumping and grinding with video hotties and why did he have a bland looking partner who said almost nothing and what in God’s holy name was Nelly doing here and when did the skinny kid from “Country Grammar” get, like, Tom-Hardy-in-Warrior shredded? The lyric was rooted in a dumb metaphor (“Baby, you a song, you make we wanna roll my windows down…”) and road clichés, but sung with such dumb earnestness and repeated so many goddamn times that I couldn’t even really be certain a verse had ever occurred. I was sure I had witnessed something either terrible or life-changing, and went about my day convinced I had dreamt the whole thing.

But Florida Georgia Line willed it, and it was no dream. With repeated exposure, lo, I saw the error of my ways.