"H.O.L.Y.," performed by Florida Georgia Line / by Patrick Shea

Performer: "H.O.L.Y." is currently #1 on the Hot Country charts, and #14 on the Hot 100. Their 2013 single "Cruise," peaked at #4 on the Hot 100; their highest charting single to date.

Writers: Busbee, Nate Cyphert, and William Wiik Larsen.

Title: One word; an acronym for "High on Lovin' You."

BPM: 78

Length: 3:16

Structure: Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus / Tag

Points of Interest:

1) The production sounds very pop. The kick and snare have been processed to sound like an 808 (or have been doubled with drum samples). The piano is very bright. The organ pad behind the verse, as well as the pedal steel (or slide guitar) in the chorus sound metallic, like synths. The backing vocals in the chorus are extremely tuned and chorused, again creating an effect closer to a synth pad than to an actual vocal. Like many pop or hip hop songs, the same beat carries through the entire song, punctuated only by an EDM-ish crash rise leading into the chorus.

2) The lyric feels more like a pop lyric than a country lyric, memorable first in the chorus vocal melody, and second in the message of the lyric. Like a pop song, the lyrics are impressionistic and emotional, rather than specific and story-oriented (the latter being what I tend to associate with the country genre). For example, "Cleansed from the demons / that were killing my freedom," could refer to just about anything from depression to alcoholism to whatever else; the lyric instead communicates a feeling of being pulled out of a very dark period of life. Again, this kind of writing seems to me unusual for the genre.

3) There is a really cool harmonic shift going into the bridge, and at least one very interesting chord choice in the bridge itself. These elements again feel very pop.

4) Despite the pop production and the pop style of lyric, the song still feels country. The country feel comes partly from the southern vocals, and partly from the language the writers use; river banks and baptisms, angels and saving graces. However, I think the instrumentation bears the most responsibility for the country feel; particularly the pedal steel.