February 7, 2010
Wynonna once sang about driving down an old road that “can take you back to the place but it can’t take you back in time.” The road she longed for doesn’t exist in physical reality, but as Tim McGraw observes in his new single “Still”, they do exist in your mind, provided you allow yourself the quiet and stillness needed to travel down them.
This is the part of the review where I should continue waxing philosophical and pretending there is a professional distance between myself and this song, that the “A” grade that follows is based on a purely objective and thoughtful analysis of the record’s components and how they come together. That would be a lie.
The truth is that my memories are my only tangible connection to most of the significant people and places in my life, and while the details may differ from what McGraw describes in this song, the process of reconnection is the same. I just need to be still, to allow the quiet and alone that are needed to go back in time again.
What I love about this song is that it juxtaposes the business of everyday life with the need to slow down and take a moment to just remember where you’ve already been. It’s not so much about going back in time itself. It’s not a romanticized nostalgia where the present is flawed and the past is perfect.
There really is no perfect time in life. Going back to days gone by would mean sacrificing those people and places that have come along since then, not to mention all of the lessons learned along the way. I’ll never walk on this earth with my father again, and so many of my closest friends are tied to places and ways of life that I can visit in passing but will never live in again.
Yet the fact that I’m happier now than I’ve ever been is not a repudiation or rejection of any of them. They’re still with me, never more than one quiet moment or unexpected reminder away. Time’s great gift is that the best memories are what remain, and those are the ones that we revisit in our mind. Perhaps it’s really God’s great gift in the end.
So anyway, “Still” makes me feel all of these things. I get a warm feeling when I hear it and I tend to hit repeat once or twice. Good enough for an A in my book.
Written by Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, and Joe Leathers