Single Review: Little Big Town, “When Someone Stops Loving You”

“When Someone Stops Loving You”
Little Big Town

Written by Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill, and Lori McKenna

A great heartbreak song is hard to find because a great heartbreak song is hard to write.

It is one of the most explored ideas in songwriting, so it presents dual challenges that are hard to meet. One, it has to write about it in a way that it hasn’t been written about before. And two, it needs to have specific details that make it unique while also evoking emotions that make it universal enough that anyone with a broken heart can relate to it.

“When Someone Stops Loving You” meets both of those challenges, and Little Big Town pull it off so well that it seems effortless. They’ve done this theme before on “Kiss Goodbye,” a pre-“Pontoon” single that sank quietly at radio, and the injustice of that will hopefully be remedied by a warm reception to this effort.

This song is all about how the world moves on around you and you have no choice but to move with it, even though you’d rather not do so. “Still gotta button up your shirt, the one she used to button down. Sleep on the mattress where her body left a curve, or maybe on the couch.” Specific details. Universal feelings.

“When Someone Stops Loving You” is only held back a bit by the lackluster production, which attempts simplicity but only achieves emptiness. This track begs for a mournful fiddle or sorrowful steel guitar to complement those peerless harmonies, but we don’t get them. I’m not a purist by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m fine with pop arrangements when they’re done well. But this track refuses to be identifiably country but also lacks the courage to be aggressively pop.

Still, the lyrics and the vocals, particularly as the track gains momentum toward the end, are enough to make it worthy of recommendation.

Grade: B+

1 Comment

  1. I like the song well enough without a “mournful fiddle or sorrowful steel guitar” but it would be interesting to hear it with country instrumentation. I bought the song 2 weeks ago.

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