‘Cruise’: Behind the making of Florida Georgia Line’s mega-hit

September 29, 2013

If you’ve toggled through the radio dial at any point over the past year, chances are it didn’t take you long to hear the words “Baby you a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down, and cruise.”

It’s the opening line to “Cruise,” the summer-love party anthem that launched Florida Georgia Line into the pop-culture consciousness. The mega-hit, which first made an impact in August 2012, has gone platinum five times over, making it the second-best-selling digital country song in history.

With five co-writers on the track (Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, along with Joey Moi, Chase Rice and Jesse Rice), we had to know who came up with that inexplicably catchy — and grammatically incorrect — four-word intro.

Turns out that was all Kelley. “Honestly, you gotta thank the songwriting gods,” he says. He has no idea where it came from. The line materialized while they were in the middle of writing a different song, and they ran with it.

Originally, the lyric was “Baby, you like a song.” The track actually went through several edits when Florida Georgia Line first went into the studio with Moi, a veteran producer.

Moi, who produced the duo’s debut album, remembers the construction of “Cruise” as “one of those magical days,” where everything just fell into place. The group rewrote some lyrics and added a section after the solo. Moi, who hails from Vancouver and spent years working in the rock genre, was accustomed to building songs layer by layer in the studio. He did the same with “Cruise,” and the end result, Kelley says, was an “epic” track, with a sound quality that stood out from everything else on country radio.

So, tell us. What’s the secret to making a song stick in people’s heads forever?

Moi laughs. “I’ve been trying to crack that code my entire career,” he says, before explaining that it really can’t be explained beyond that it involves a blend of lyrics, melody and energy.

“There are some intangible things that go along with it,” Moi says. “And this will sound cliche, but with Brian and Tyler’s personalities . . . there’s just energy created from it that’s kind of contagious.”

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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