Finally, someone has displaced Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" from the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100. And what a mixed blessing that is: "Meant to Be" by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line is not much of an improvement.
As a general rule, people get too hung up on what is or is not authentic in pop culture, especially in country music. And this is nominally a country song, in that it's No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs, Country Digital Song Sales and Country Streaming Songs charts. However you define "authentic," though, this isn't it, unless the bar is so low that "song with twangy cornpone vocals" counts. "Meant to Be" is Rexha's first foray into "country." The Brooklyn native's previous collaborators have included David Guetta and G-Eazy, who featured on her four-times platinum 2015 single "Me, Myself & I." Rexha also helped write the 2013 Eminem-Rihanna track "The Monster."
This ain't that. "Meant to Be" opens with piano and digital finger snaps as bro-country duo Florida Georgia Line offers a banal update on the "Que Sera, Sera" aesthetic, repeating "If it's meant to be, it'll be, it'll be" over and over until the words lose whatever little meaning they once had. It's not entirely clear (to me, at least) why Rexha gets top billing on this song: she doesn't show up until about 60 seconds into the 3-minute track, when she explains in a voice better suited to an R&B slow-jam why she's reluctant to embrace the "it'll be, it'll be" mentality. She was hurt by a couple of guys, you see, who (or, as she says, "that") didn't treat her right. Then she joins Florida Georgia Line to batter the refrain into oblivion.
At the risk of sounding like an utter crank (I know, too late), it's no wonder this is popular: it just slides by, requiring no effort, or even sentience, from listeners, and they sing the chorus so much there's almost no chance the song won't get stuck in your head, kind of like finding that dead body haunted the kids in "Stand by Me" for the rest of their lives.
Also, just a note about why this feature is now "A Grump's Take" rather than a curmudgeon's: the great Geoffrey Himes writes a feature called "The Curmudgeon" for Paste, and he was doing it well before I started doing this.