Tyler Hubbard's freshly-released "Back Then Right Now" is about more than just nostalgia. He says the song, which he wrote with Jessie Jo Dillon, Geoff Warburton and David Garcia, sums up a mindset that's been his mantra for the past year or so.

When asked which lyric describes his life today, Hubbard points to the part of the first verse where he sings, "Back when you took a pic and didn't have to post it."

"I haven't been taking a lot of pictures for posting lately, and it's been good. [I'm] just being present, man," the singer tells Taste of Country Nights' Evan Paul.

Hubbard was in college during the rise of Facebook, so he still remembers the MySpace days — and even earlier, when social media wasn't a part of day-to-day life at all. Now, he sees the value in social media, especially as an artist who likes to keep in touch with his fans. But he also sees the value in setting limits on it — and a year ago, he drew a hard line in the sand.

"I do turn it off. I don't have social media on my phone anymore," the singer relates. "... It's been a good year of being present and trying not to be too consumed with the social media stuff, even though it's important. But it's something that can take over, you know, if you're not careful."

Less time scrolling means more time working on new music, and Hubbard is currently at work on a new album to follow the self-titled solo debut he released in January of this year. That project saw Hubbard forking off from his career as one-half of hit country duo Florida Georgia Line in favor of something rootsier, more grounded and mature. Singles like "5 Foot 9" and "Dancin' in the Country," both of which topped the country charts, recast the singer as still playful and ready to party, but more focused on message than he is on crafting stadium-ready pop-country bangers.

It was a significant shift, but Hubbard says he's not done evolving.

"I don't want anything to sound like the last project. I'm trying to elevate it always," he says, adding that he's been listening to new music by everyone from Morgan Wallen to Post Malone to Jack Harlow as he works on his next record. Those albums aren't necessarily influencing the music, Hubbard clarifies, but he says he's taking note of the "'80s vibes" of Malone's latest album, and some of those same sounds might work their way into his own music.

"Sonically, I think it's a little different. Sort of got this vintage feel to it, this '80s inspiration," the country star says, describing his next album. "It's a lot of fun, a lot of up tempo, a lot of stuff you wanna sing at a live concert. That's sort of what I'm channeling right now, just music I wanna sing every night. I'm having a lot of fun writing it and recording it."

Hubbard will have ample opportunity to perform his new music in front of a crowd next year. On Wednesday (Sept. 20), he announced that he's joining Kane Brown's In the Air Tour starting in late March 2024.

The Top Country Songs of 2023, Ranked

The best country songs of 2023 fit snug over your life and experiences. Each is written from personal experiences, but somehow, that translates as if it were custom to each of us. We've loved, we've longed, we've lost and we've cut loose in the country.

Airplay charts, sales data and streaming numbers helped make this list of country music's top songs of 2023, but staff and Taste of Country reader opinion were most influential. Songs included on previous Top Country Songs lists were not eligible. A song may have been released in 2022, but it had to have the majority of recorded airplay or impact this year to count.