There hasn’t been a great song in this vein for a good long while. The last one might have been “The River and the Highway.” It’s the classic lover’s triangle: the man, the woman, and the impossible dream.
In this case, it’s the man who is chasing his dreams and cannot settle down, and it’s the woman who won’t wait around while he’s left her behind. It’s structured well enough that you can’t anticipate if they will reconcile by the end of the song, if the man will give up the dream or the woman will chase it with him.
The storytelling is strong, with believable characters speaking in a believable voice. But it’s the arrangement that makes it a truly great record. Like those old Garth Brooks ballads like “Learning to Live Again”, “Colder Weather’ takes the essence of a classic rock power ballad and strips it down until it’s nearly bare. Journey could have sung this one, but they never would have sung it this way.
Written by Coy Bowles, Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, and Levi Lowrey.
Listen: Colder Weather