Review: Lee Ann Womack, “There is a God”

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October 25, 2009

Lee Ann Womack“There is a God” is a thought that often crosses my mind when Lee Ann Womack is singing, so it’s somewhat appropriate that she’s released a song with that title.  Of course, Womack’s more effective when she’s singing about Saturday night than she is about Sunday morning, unless she’s hating herself in the morning after that Saturday night.

I actually believe that the aesthetic explanation for the existence of God is a powerful one, which is the case that Womack makes here.  She’s just not making the case very well. That’s mostly because of the lyrics, but her tepid performance certainly does a good part of the damage, too. If ever there was a time to sing with some conviction, this was it.

I also have to say that one line really rubbed me the wrong way and took this from a song that I could tolerate to one that made me too uncomfortable to listen to it again. At one point, she puts up as an example of God’s existence: “Hearing the doctor say, ‘I can’t explain it, but the cancer’s gone.’”  That’s a line I’ve never heard a doctor say, as the disease has claimed one family member of mine after another in recent years. To follow the song to its logical conclusion, I’d have to believe that there is a God, but He’s selective with his miracles. I believe the former but not the latter.

Thankfully, the song wasn’t grabbing me before that line anyway. I’m sure this will be a big hit with a tie-in Hallmark book and all that, but I’ll sit this one out.  When she’s back to being a honky tonk angel, let me know.

Grade: B-

Listen: There is a God

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  1. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Great review. I like her version more than Trent Willmon’s from a little while ago, because she at least injects some much-needed sensitivity into the song, where his just came off as one dimensionally self-assertive. But I just don’t find the song to be a particularly thoughtful argument for God’s existence, and I’m especially annoyed that the bridge suggests that science is the inherent enemy to faith, as if the country audience needed another reason to mistrust science.

  2. highwayman3No Gravatar says:

    I like this song and think Lee Ann is one of the strongest vocalists in country today. She’s a great stylist and I enjoy her phrasing and just hearing her voice. And I have confidence she saved room for some honkytonk songs on her next album.
    One other note that I thought when listening to this song was how Jo Dee Messina can’t catch a break. Just last week she announced her next single (4th attempt at a comeback)is called ‘That’s God’ which is pretty much the exact same song as this just worded differently. Lee Ann’s is the better one and I’m sure radio will be picking it up over Jo Dee’s. Maybe a 5th single will be her lucky charm.

  3. But I just don’t find the song to be a particularly thoughtful argument for God’s existence, and I’m especially annoyed that the bridge suggests that science is the inherent enemy to faith, as if the country audience needed another reason to mistrust science.

    My thoughts exactly. Extremely off-putting.

    It’s a pretty song, but I wouldn’t call it poignant and certainly not powerful. There’s just something very flat about the lyrics, and to a lesser extent, her vocal performance.

  4. countryfanNo Gravatar says:

    I own Womack’s first three albums, but stopped following her closely when she released “Something Worth Leaving Behind.” In my mind, this song is worse than many of the songs gracing the “Worst Singles of the Decade feature.” I also think its the worst single Womack released since “Buckaroo” back in 1998.

    I think the “aesthetic explanation” Kevin refers to is good evidence, but it doesn’t “proove” there is a god, the nature of that god, or whether there is only one god or maybe more. Its evidence, but not proof. Womack misses the difference. Though I agree with Kevin that the “aesthetic explanation” has some force, I don’t think it can do the work Womack wants it to do in the song.

    The line about science is flat out moronic. Either Womack is ignorant about the nature of science or she is including the line in a cynical attempt to manipulate a less sophisticated part of the country audience. Either way, I have lost a lot of respect for Lee Ann Womack now that I know she would release a song with such a line.

    And the line about the doctor and cancer is also awful. It invites claims from skeptics about an all knowing, all powerful, all benevolent God (e.g., why doesn’t God cure more cancer?Why does God permit even some cancer to afflict innocent people?),and it probably undermine’s Womack’s point.

    And the line doesn’t even make sense on its own logic. To suggest that the fact that doctors cannot explain certain things is evidence of God is pretty weak. How does the fact that humans are ignorant about certain things suggest that God exists? This just makes no sense. What if next year doctors do learn of a scientific explanation for why these cancers are “gone.” Would that then mean there is less evidence of God?

    I do tend to believe in God, but boy is this awful. It could be written by an athiest trying to parody the silliest reasons believers offer to justify their beliefs. Pandering at its worst. Its a shame too, because Womack has released some good spiritual and religious songs in the past, such as “Lord I Hope this Day is Good” and “The Preacher Won’t Have to Lie.”

    Sorry for the rant. After hearing this tripe I’m embarrassed to admit that I own some Womack albums and if this does well at radio I would feel embarrassed to be a country radio listener.

  5. TomNo Gravatar says:

    to find something really nice to say about this song – the preacher would have to lie.

  6. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    “I’d have to believe that there is a God, but He’s selective with his miracles. I believe the former but not the latter”

    He’s not a holy pez dispenser popping out a cure upon request. But this topic probably implicates things beyond the scope of this post like the depraved nature of man, the apparent fickleness of God, etc.

  7. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    countryfan: “After hearing this tripe I’m embarrassed to admit that I own some Womack albums and if this does well at radio I would feel embarrassed to be a country radio listener.”

    After reading your rant, I’m embarrassed to admit that I read your comment and if others agree with your comment, I would feel embarrassed to be a follower of countryuniverse.net.

  8. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    Seems like everybody wants to quote everybody on this topic, but I am with Kevin in that when Lee Ann Womack is back to being a honky tonk angel, then I’ll be ready to listen again.

  9. NicolasNo Gravatar says:

    I love Lee Ann Womack, but this song is a little boring. Its still not a bad song for me though, I think a B- is a pretty good rating for it.

    Although I don’t understand why she’d release this song anyway. Its going to be a flop on the charts, as its much too slow for an artist who’s not going to automatically get plays because of their name.

  10. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    I HAVE NO CLUE what is with all the negative comments. I have listened to this song all weekend and I am in love with it and the lyrics.

    I like to imagine the scene of the lyrics and what it is suggesting, and no country song has moved me more! Not even I HOPE YOU DANCE!

    To those who are against it, ridiculous. GOD DOES CURE PEOPLE FROM CANCER! GAH how irrogant.
    My dad had a spot on his lung, and all the doctors said it was cancerious, and he took a trip to Atlanta to get it removed. When he got down there its was gone, and my dad later explained that he believe GOD cured him the weekend before…touched him so much, (his words) “cried like a baby!”
    I have also had close close family, die of cancer, and in no way do I blame GOD. God gives and takes away. God’s timing is perfect, though we do not understand.

    This is no time for conviction. This song is trying to reach out and prove, what many are skeptic to believe. You need sympathy to touch a subject like this one.
    Jesus ALWAYS preached with LOVE, and we are to be like Chirst. So I applaude LEE ANN!

    This is LAW’s best single. No way is it her worst, and those you saw otherwise..thats childish!

    This is immature christians or not even christians that leave comments like this!

  11. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Jesse said: “This is immature christians or not even christians that leave comments like this!”

    Trying to shame people into liking this song is pretty pointless. It doesn’t work. It’s one thing to outline your reasons for disagreeing, but it’s very ineffective to attempt to railroad/insult people for not liking it. That’s some bad proselytizing, I’d say.

  12. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Its not trying to shame people into liking it, it is me expressing how I feel about someone elses comments.

    Talk about trying to shame others, shaming me for what I believe to be true, hypocritical, I’d say!

  13. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Ok one more shot at this, I respect people’s opinions!

    Ya’ll express how ya’ll felt about the song, and I express how I feel…two way street…I disagree with you and you disagree with me.

    I love the way this country is headed!

  14. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    “Jesus ALWAYS preached with LOVE, and we are to be like Chirst.”

    I agree with that statement. I don’t think labeling people as immature Christians or “not Christians at all” is following that philosophy of “preaching with love”too well though. I’ll give you that my reaction may not have been completely appropriate either.

    I’m actually pretty neutral about this song. I lean toward Kevin’s view of it, but I don’t dislike the song altogether. To me, it just seems more like a Chicken Soup for the Soul type sentiments rather than anything deep though.

  15. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Ok I am glad, you posted what you did. and I agree that it does not respresent Jesus well! There is no false truth to my comment, but my representation is wrong. There are immature christians, but I could have said it out of love, not anger!

    I just got fired up, I was defending my Lord and in the same regard, the song (Jesus also got upset, the temple). I love the song, and this is coming from some one lacking faith in present time. This song has opened my eyes up to the simple things, and I believe thats the intention of the song.
    Just get personal with all your surroundings and just dig a little deeper into the exsistence of this world. Then you will see there has to be a GOD!
    I believe in GOD, and I love this song for exposing, Lee Ann does sympathy, those who fail to see the greatness in all the little things! In the process giving credit to the creator!

    I apologize!

  16. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    Nobody has mentioned it yet, but this song is very similar in structure to George Strait’s far-superior ‘I Saw God Today’.

  17. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    I nearly mentioned that in my review, J.R. It’s amazing how much more effectively the point is made in the Strait song.

  18. Nobody has mentioned it yet, but this song is very similar in structure to George Strait’s far-superior ‘I Saw God Today’.

    That was my first thought! Strait does it much, much better.

  19. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Dang it. I *am* a heathen. I believe I gave the Strait song a B- too.

  20. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    I’m just a hard sell when it comes to spiritual songs, be they about faith or doubt (I find “I Saw God Today” and “God Must Be Busy” equally meh). I don’t like the ones that use really specific, fleeting examples to interpret really broad, timeless issues. If a spiritually themed song is going to make an explicit argument, I like it to sound like it could easily apply to any time period, like “House Of Gold” or “Long Black Train” or “Let the Mystery Be.”

  21. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I’m the same way. I love a good religious/spiritual song, but I either like it to sound timeless (a standard/classic) or make me really think like “Let the Mystery Be” or “Doubting Thomas.” I don’t even always have to agree with it, but I don’t like to feel like I’m listening to a Readers Digest song.

  22. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Do ya’ll think that sometimes its us that make things to board. Jesus even in the Bible made things so simple, but even then his disciples questioned him!

    So one explain what its so wrong with this song to me! Keep it simple!

  23. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Oh and the reason it sounds similar to George is because Tony Brown produced both!

  24. chesnuttisNo Gravatar says:

    To me, what is “so wrong” with this song is that Womack can be interpreted as presenting a question on which intelligent and informed people disagree as though her answer is obviously right and everyone else is obviously wrong. I don’t like that, though I think this song could have avoided that problem if a few lines were reworded.

  25. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    “Womack can be interpreted as presenting a question on which intelligent and informed people disagree as though her answer is obviously right and everyone else is obviously wrong.”

    SHE IS RIGHT!

    When I listen to the song, Lee Ann does not come off that way. There is no false truth in the lyrics.
    Like the line that deals with science, is completely true. Science is made up of different theories, and one of those theories is the “Big Bang Theory.” That is what the song is directing toward. She sings the song with love and sympathy. If you agree with the “Big Bang” then you are wrong, I say that with love. We are not here by accident, There Is A God. I hope you see this one day.
    One biology teacher told me once…”I believe God is a scientist!”-so true!
    When Lee Ann sings “how much proof do you need” its not with irrogance. To me she is say “how much proof do you need (as a question)?” like what else will it take, to make you believe.
    I just don’t see what everyone is getting at!

  26. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Though I’m less religious than I used to be, I’ve never felt that the Big Bang Theory was incompatible with Christianity, and find it disheartening that so many people have that perception. Who’s to say that God didn’t direct the Big Bang? The evidence for evolution is staggering, and nothing in the Bible says that the Book of Genesis is supposed to be a literal account of human history. There are all kinds of writings in the Bible – poems, history, folklore. They can be meaningful without all being literally true. Christianity is about a relationship with a higher power, not belief in a particular creation story.

  27. chesnuttisNo Gravatar says:

    As I suggested, the line “how much proof do you need” can be interpreted in the way I suggest. Yes, it also an be interpreted in the way you suggest. But, to me, that is part of the problem. Either interpretation seems somewhat plausible to me, and I feel if the song was written better, it would be written in a way that would make my interpretation implausible.

    Nor is the issue for me for me whether Womack is right or wrong. Say two people are in a conversation, and they disagree about something. One is right and one is wrong. However, the one who is right responds to the one who is wrong by saying “talk to the hand!” That’s just not a respectful way to treat somebody, and to me Womack comes across as saying “talk to the hand.”

    Perhaps this was not Womack’s intention. But the fact that I can’t exclude this as a possible motive on Womack’s part really destroys this song for me.

  28. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    In light of Kevin’s original review above, the Times today has a great article on cancer that just vanishes: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/health/27canc.html?ref=health.

    It’s too bad it doesn’t happen for all families, but I’m glad it does happen.

  29. fluffyNo Gravatar says:

    come on ,get over it, don’t analyze it to death,it is a song , in my opinion an awesome song, I am proud to say I am a leeann womack fan , I think she is the best singer , male or female and espically compared the singers that these days are being called country singers, now if you want to talk about something not to believe in , I like the song , but I to , do perfer her honky tonk songs , espically “there’s more where that came from , now that is a real country song ,it is a shmae radio won’t play leeann’s songs, I guess they don’t have any taste , whether people belive in God or not ,that is there choice , but don’t pick on the song, and there are alot of things in this world people can’t explain, so take the song as wha t it is a great song sung by the best singer there is

  30. , whether people belive in God or not ,that is there choice , but don’t pick on the song, and there are alot of things in this world people can’t explain, so take the song as wha t it is a great song sung by the best singer there is

    But actually, that’s why I’m picking on the song. A subject as powerful as faith, and one that’s so close to my heart, deserves a song that adequately and poignantly conveys its magnitude. I realize this is subjective, but my point is that it’s unfair to assume that those of us picking apart the song are doing so because we don’t believe in the song’s message.

  31. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    “Though I’m less religious than I used to be, I’ve never felt that the Big Bang Theory was incompatible with Christianity, and find it disheartening that so many people have that perception. Who’s to say that God didn’t direct the Big Bang? The evidence for evolution is staggering, and nothing in the Bible says that the Book of Genesis is supposed to be a literal account of human history. There are all kinds of writings in the Bible – poems, history, folklore. They can be meaningful without all being literally true. Christianity is about a relationship with a higher power, not belief in a particular creation story.”

    I am not saying that at all. The “Big Bang” also suggests that we are here by accident, and we are not. And evolution is total crap, mans way of trying to prove that GOD does not exist. If this was true, then why aren’t there frogs turning into monkeys or monkeys into humans…simple, cause the can’t. GOD designed this world and man wants to claim it has their own, and not give GOD the credit. Its so funny that scientist do not believe in God (not all are like that, so don’t go there), but they are trying to obtain god-like abilities.
    Are you saying that the Bible lies?

  32. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    I do not believe Lee Ann is saying I am right you are wrong and you can just talk to the hand.
    I don’t see how after listening to the song, you could come to that conclusion, maybe its not the song that is the issue, maybe pride!

  33. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    There aren’t monkeys turning into humans because:

    1) Evolution is supposed to occur over hundreds of thousands of years as a result of little mutations in genes. A single monkey wouldn’t just up and become a human one day. It’s not like Pokemon.
    2) The monkeys we know today are not pre-evolved forms of humans. They are the product of a separate evolutionary chain that happens to be more similar to the human one than, say, the chain that produced frogs.

    And again, nothing about Big Bang Theory itself says that our existence is an “accident” – that, I think, is an idea you got from a preacher or teacher who didn’t understand evolution correctly or wanted to make it look bad. What the theory actually says is that things have become the way they have because of natural selection, and anyone is free to believe that God guided the course of natural selection or that He didn’t.

    “Its so funny that scientist do not believe in God (not all are like that, so don’t go there), but they are trying to obtain god-like abilities.”

    I don’t see how trying to figure out how the world works is necessarily an attempt to undermine God. It’s because of scientific study that we’re able to record music, use the internet, and have medical treatments that keep us healthy and alive longer. Or do you not appreciate those things, either?

    And no, I didn’t say the Bible lies. I said that it’s not completely literal. Metaphors and moral stories are not the same thing as lies.

  34. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    Dan: “It’s because of scientific study that we’re able to . . . have medical treatments that keep us healthy and alive longer.”

    I think it’s also because of scientific study that we have folks ready to pull the plug on us when they decide that we are no longer entitled to those medical treatments. Science is funny that way.

  35. chesnuttisNo Gravatar says:

    There were people more than willing to kill others or let others die of benign neglect long before science made some of its recent significant advances that have lead to the current situation you mention. And if the issue is that the society lacks the resources (or so claims to lack) necessary to support some of its elders or its sick (or other “nonproductive” people), again, non-scientific societies have been more than willing to let those people die rather than spend resources keeping them healthy.

    That said, I don’t think science leads to only good and no bad. Science gives us new ways of bettering ourselves, but also new technology that can be very destructive. Little if anything in life has all pros and no cons, and overall the benefits of a scientific society seem to far outweigh the drawbacks. So this is hardly unique to science. Similar arguments apply to religion.

    If, as perhaps is insinuated in some posts (though not yours), science and religion are to be pitted against each other, I would note that while religion has led to much good, religion also has inspired some of the greatest cruelty imaginable. So while science may have a downside in that it leads to technology that can be used for evil, this is hardly an argument in favor of religion, which also can be used for evil.

  36. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    “If, as perhaps is insinuated in some posts (though not yours), science and religion are to be pitted against each other, I would note that while religion has led to much good, religion also has inspired some of the greatest cruelty imaginable”

    I would agree: religion can be used for evil. As can science. As can country music.

  37. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    Well, scientist do try to obtain god-like abilities, there are scientist that are trying to reinstruct the “big bang.” All this is kind of silly.

    Plain and simple this song is amazing, and I HOPE GOD BLESSES IT!

  38. HayleyNo Gravatar says:

    Its really sad to see how many people are critisizing Lee Ann for admiting her faith and standing strong with the lyrics.. believe it or not … this is why so many people are ashamed to admit they believe bc of hateful people who always have something to say. As a matter of fact everything she speaks about in the song is blessings blown by the hands of God accept it or not .. just bc you dont believe doesnt mean you have to critisize. This really exemplifies how many lost people their really are. :[

  39. Samantha HudnallNo Gravatar says:

    Today was my 44th B-Day What Better Present Than To Hear This Awesome Song!It should be #1 on the charts.But one thing God has a reward for Lee Ann!She has stood up for the Creator of the Universe & the Giver of live.I;m so thankful for you Lee Ann.We better Never be ashamed of God.I know that you are not.Keep up the Good Work for God. Love In Christ,Samantha Hudnall WV

  40. chesnuttisNo Gravatar says:

    Layla says that “people are critisizing Lee Ann for admitting her faith…” But I don’t see that. People are criticizing the lyrics for having a “Readers Digest” quality or for misrepresenting science or for being inferior to the George Strait tune “I Saw God Today,” which touches on similar themes (more effectively, I’d add). But those criticisms made in the above comments are very different than criticisms of someone for “admitting her faith.”

    I loved Womack’s version of “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good,” a song that presumes faith in a Lord. But I don’t like “There Is A God,” for many of the reasons above. I don’t object to Womack admitting her faith; she did so to great benefit in “Lord I Hope…” But I do object to songs that I find simultaneously simplistic and preachy, whether they are pro-God, pro-athiesm or on some other topic altogether.

    Religion is an important topic that deserves thoughtful treatment. Womack is capable of giving it such treatment (again, see “Lord I Hope…). In view of those two points, I am saddened that she chose to convey her beliefs through an inferior song this time around. She can do better, and I hope she does next time.

  41. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    the only preaching I find, is these comments!

  42. meNo Gravatar says:

    ya only your comments jesse

  43. K-ManNo Gravatar says:

    I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a song about God. I enjoy “God Must Be Busy” because I can put myself in the shoes of someone who believes in God and believe what Brooks & Dunn have to say. However, such is not so with this song. If you’re going to try to convince me that God exists, there are much better arguments out there than raindrops and fireflies.

    “but don’t pick on the song, and there are alot of things in this world people can’t explain, so take the song as wha t it is”

    You’re right, there are many things in this world that people cannot explain. However, raindrops and fireflies are not among them. And just because people cannot explain a certain event, does not mean it is proof that God had an influence on it. If God exists, then He likely has an influence on things whether we can explain them or not.

  44. JesseNo Gravatar says:

    I am preachy right now, and I aint ashamed either…. but the song is not!

    HOw is the belief in GOD any different than the belief that you guys put in science!

    I love science, but I can not put faith into what those theories make up! I aint no realist…I don’t need to be able to touch something to make sense of it! Too many answered prayers and i witnessed miracles that make up the proof I need to believe in GOD! I know him personally, and when I look at what this song says, I can picture it and know it to be true! I have had these moments, where I am sitting on my roof watching the sunset and I know GOD created everything I see. He is there, and if anything that comes out of science that goes against my GOD…it is false! And that’s all I need “to shout that theory down”

  45. CorryNo Gravatar says:

    I love this song, I believe in God and that He does perform miracles and created this beautiful world we live in and I’m just happy to turn on the country station and hear a great song like this that uses His Name with respect, not in vain, and not the load of crap and vulgarity that so many of the songs spew these days. Go Leanne!!

  46. AllisonNo Gravatar says:

    I heard this song for the first time a few days ago. It hit me really hard… it was just the message I needed. So many times we look for the negative in things and we just HAVE to be able to explain everything. Sometimes you CAN’T. I’m so tired of being judgemental of everything and everyone around me. I have read the comments of others and respect their opinions. I think most people are trying to hard with this song. I believe the whole point is to think simple. GOD is not complicated. The everyday “miracles” are HIS.

  47. NikaNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t usually listen to country, but I LOVE this song.
    My greatest disappointment is how ignorant some of these people are on here criticizing the very name of God vicariously through this song. We need more strong people in these troubling times like Jesse, Corry, Samantha,Allison, and Hayley. I guess it’s a crime to talk about God anymore and that’s so pitiful. Well comment, disagree, deconstruct or whatever you’d like to do, but my point is given regardless. The only PROOF that we need is to see how many idiots disagree with the belief in God’s message.

  48. chesnuttisNo Gravatar says:

    This clunker of a song is done on the charts. It didn’t even make it as high as 30. There is proof that God exists – this mess bombed on the charts with two different artists singing it.

    I hope Womack comes back with a better song next time. I like her but really can’t support “There Is A God.”

  49. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from on the line about cancer, and I’m sorry about your losses. Even if a single case of cancer disappears for no apparent reason, there are still plenty of other people who die from it. That thought immediately crossed my mind the first time I heard the song. But I’m glad that this review doesn’t accuse Lee Ann of “taking pot shots at science,” which really means “taking pot shots at evolution.” Whether you’re a Christian or not, you have to admit that evolution cannot be proven by face – it is NOT science. Overall, I liked how this song draws on the wonders of creation as proof of God’s existence, but it does have some shortcomings.

  50. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I meant to type “fact,” not face. Please forgive my little typo. I certainly do know all the right ways to discredit myself.

  51. [...] feels Womack brings an expert delivery to the song ;  Country Universe likes her better as a honky-tonk [...]

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