Single Review: Alan Jackson, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

I guess that the best way to remind us that Alan Jackson hasn’t put out a great song in a long time is for him to put out a great song.

A deeply moving spin on the same concept that anchors “Blame it On Me”,  “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is the story of a man who loves the woman leaving him so much, he’s even willing to say she left him so she can save face.

As with many great country songs, the devil is in the details.  All of the direct consequences of a relationship’s end are explored, and as they get more mundane, the song becomes more powerful.   In great country music, reality always trumps fantasy.

I fear that Jackson’s remarkable run at radio may have already drawn to a close, but if there’s any justice, this will reignite his presence on the radio dial.  His new release ranks among his best work, and given that he’s one of the genre’s all time greats, that’s heady company for it to be in.

Written by Jay Knowles and Adam Wright

Grade: A

Listen: So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

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9 Comments

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9 Responses to Single Review: Alan Jackson, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

  1. Fantastic review of a fantastic song (great opening sentence). I agree that this ranks among his best work. I sure hope radio plays it. It’s just so refreshing to hear Alan singing a great song again.

    I actually almost signed up to review this song myself, but I’m glad I didn’t now. This says it better than anything I would have written.

  2. Jackson has earned the right to coast through the rest of his career, but thankfully he’s still up to the challenge of making great music. Amazing song.

  3. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar

    This new song shows that Jackson is still capable of greatness. But the singles he released in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were pretty uninspired.

    I certainly could understand if radio hesitates to play Alan Jackson now. This new song is awesome, but one wonders if he is a consistent hit maker any more. Radio might be better served in ignoring even a great Alan Jackson song considering that Jackson seems inconsistent at best now and instead giving airplay to a new, up and coming artist who might be around for years to come.

    I don’t know. But Alan Jackson has had a great career. One of the best country singers of the last 20 years!

  4. RowdyRedNo Gravatar

    Sweetcheeks, if they had used that logic on George Strait’s recent output, he’d have been history years ago. Talk about coasting until something decent comes along.

    I’m always up for a great song, even if it’s sung by someone I ordinarily dislike (hi Jason A) and this is such a great one I wouldn’t care who sang it. The fact that it’s Alan Jackson is pretty cool in my book. He can deliver more emotional weight in one word than GS had lately delivered in many (many) songs.

    For that matter, even if, say, “Red Solo Cup” is a catchy piece of crap, it’s the very crapness of contemporary country radio that makes it suitable for regular rotation. Thus, I fear for Alan getting the exposure he and this beauty deserve.

    Gotta hope so, though!

  5. PuckNo Gravatar

    “Radio might be better served in ignoring even a great Alan Jackson song considering that Jackson seems inconsistent at best now and instead giving airplay to a new, up and coming artist who might be around for years to come.”

    This thinking is why country radio is the barren wasteland that it has become,on the other hand you may have exactly what it takes to be a program director!

  6. TomNo Gravatar

    …guess this one’s climb up the charts will be some kind of a struggle – it’s almost too good a song to fit the commercial bill of “today’s country”.

    an interesting lyrical angle, a bluesy lead guitar and steel where steel belongs together with aj’s subdued delivery make for an early highlight among the 2012 country releases.

    if i’m wrong with my chart prediction – all the better. and since george strait is on his way to the top spot once more, why shouldn’t aj follow him in his footsteps.

  7. RowdyRedNo Gravatar

    Unfortunately George Strait didn’t deserve his “automatic-add” status for most of the past 7-8 years. Songs like “Gotta Get To You” and “Living and Living Well” and the utterly atrocious “How Bout Them Cowgirls,” are more than ample evidence that GS couldn’t buy a flop — he got endless “spins” of that junk to the point I’d lunge for the dial when they started.

    I can’t say I hated even a bad Alan Jackson single, but man, he couldn’t get ANY traction with his “B” material while Strait received no such punishment. Essentially, radio assured George Strait of his ongoing legendary stature despite mounting evidence that he wasn’t “all that” anymore. It baffles me.

    I think Alan’s new song is miles more interesting and important than George’s. I only hope he gets rewarded this time.

  8. Interesting Strait/Jackson comparison. I like “How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls,” but I’m with you on “I Gotta Get to You,” plus I would add “The Breath You Take” as one Strait single that I would rather forget. I agree that “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is generally superior to Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” but I do enjoy both songs. The Strait song is catchy, and has a certain infectious warmth about it.