Apparently, Jimmy Buffett's rapprochement with Nashville is over. After two albums (Riddles in the Sand and Last Mango in Paris) that produced six country chart singles entries between 1984 and 1986, Floridays finds the singer/songwriter parting ways with the production team of Jimmy Bowen and Tony Brown, but sticking with third co-producer Michael Utley (who is also the keyboard player in his band and a sometime songwriting partner) with himself installed as executive producer. And the musical style, as can be heard from the beginning of the opening track, "I Love the Now" (co-written by Buffett and Carrie Fisher), is pop/rock with a Caribbean tinge. Buffett sometimes alters that style to accommodate the theme of a particular song, giving a Brazilian feel to "First Look," which is about visiting Rio, and a full-on Stax Records R&B arrangement, appropriately enough, to "Meet Me in Memphis." But this is a record by Jimmy Buffett in his familiar soft rock mode, not Jimmy Buffett the country crossover candidate. And that's a good idea, since Floridays is one of his more personal and self-reflective efforts, full of songs in which he waxes nostalgic ("Creola") or updates of old themes ("Nobody Speaks to the Captain No More"). As he did with "It's My Job," he finds another songwriter to pen the album's most self-justifying song, "If It All Falls Down," giving him plausible deniability if anyone takes offense. And he returns to bashing the entertainment industry in the comic closer, "You'll Never Work in Dis Bidness Again." Of course, he is at least partially serious about that. The album sleeve contains a notation at the bottom reading, "Fifteen down and one to go." What does that mean? Well, if you count the live album Feeding Frenzy and his greatest-hits LP, this is Buffett's 15th album for the label once known as ABC/Dunhill and now as MCA. Does he have only one record to go on a contract he doesn't plan to renew? So it would seem. Wonder if the folks in the marketing department at MCA have noticed the note and, if so, how it makes them feel about promoting Floridays. You'd think, with an attitude like that, Buffett might just be cruising (as he has been accused of doing on occasion). But Floridays is actually one of his better albums. Go figure.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann