Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Tracy Lawrence, “Alibis”

“Alibis”

Tracy Lawrence

Written by  Randy Boudreaux

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

May 1 – May 8, 1993

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 23, 1993

Tracy Lawrence tops the charts with his greatest single.

The Road to No. 1

Tracy Lawrence’s debut album featured three No. 1 singles – “Sticks and Stones,” “Today’s Lonely Fool,” and “Runnin’ Behind” – and a top ten hit, “Somebody Paints the Wall.”   His second album would do even better, with all four singles topping at least one chart.

The No. 1

“Alibis” is one of the best singles of the decade.  I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but this was a frontloaded decade.

Lawrence wraps his talented vocal abilities around a complex lyric and cadence that lesser singers would struggle with.  When there is this much wordplay, it can be difficult to communicate emotional nuance.

But Lawrence is in full control of his gift here, and is able to express his own shame as he sympathizes with the woman he’s done wrong and the new guy who is headed for the same kind of heartache:

The chorus is a classic, but I’ve always been most stunned by the second verse:

She once thought that love wasn’t just a game
Her feelings once came from the heart
And one day I gave her a wedding ring
And one night I tore all those feelings apart

I mean…damn.

The Road From No. 1

As noted above, the next three singles from this album will all go No. 1, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of Tracy Lawrence in 1993.
“Alibis” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Sammy Kershaw, “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” |

Next: Alan Jackson, “Tonight I Climbed the Wall”

7 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this song, and it’s always been another one of my favorites from Tracy! He’s always been great with a waltz, and this is one I still come back to often today. With a solid neo-traditional arrangement, featuring some excellent fiddle and steel, an insanely catchy melody, plus Lawrence’s mature beyond his years vocals, this would’ve fit in nicely on his first album. As for the lyrics and Tracy’s performance, you pretty much nailed it here. I’ve always loved how lyrically unique it was, with the male narrator taking responsibility and showing regret for how the female character in the song has turned out. And his performance puts is all across perfectly. And yes, that second verse sure is a heartbreaker and painfully honest!

    The first time I remember hearing this one was while I was recording one of the last country tapes that I made in the Spring of 1993. I remember at the time recognizing it as an actual new song from Tracy, since it wasn’t on my cassette copy of Sticks and Stones. Therefore, I was even more glad to get it on that tape I was recording! The songs on side A of that tape are: “You’re Still New To Me,” by Paul Davis and Marie Osmond, “I’m In A Hurry (And I Don’t Know Why) by Alabama, “Not Counting You” by Garth Brooks, “A Little Bit Of Her Love” by Robert Ellis Orrall, “Forever And Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis, “Mending Fences” by Restless Heart, “One Hundred And Two” by The Judds, “A New Way To Light Up An Old Flame” by Joe Diffie, “It’s A Little Too Late” by Tanya Tucker, “Hard Workin’ Man” by Brooks & Dunn, “Down At The Twist And Shout” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Wrong Side of Memphis” by Trisha Yearwood, “She Keeps The Home Fires Burning” by Ronnie Milsap, “Alibis” by Tracy Lawrence, and “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” by Travis Tritt. This is another tape that was a huge part of my childhood and one that I would listen to on my Walkman countless times just about anywhere I went, even as I started listening more to oldies radio later in 1993. It’s actually an old Sony HF 90 minute tape that my dad had since the 80’s, and amazingly, the thing still plays considerably well today! Been actually giving it a few spins lately. :)

    I’ve always really liked the video for this song, as well, and I always enjoyed seeing it on GAC Classic in the early 00’s. I always thought it was interesting how they seemed to imply that the girl’s behavior was partially influenced by how her father treated her and her mother, giving the song a new spin. Also thought it was pretty cool how they sort of made it look like Tracy was performing the song on the moon, mustache, mullet, colorful western shirt, and all!

  2. …what a pity miss jamie – we couldn’t swap mixed tapes. we would just hand each other pretty much the same stuff most likely. tracy lawrence was just another one that released one fine song after the other back then.

  3. I will always associate this song with a monthly DJ gig a buddy and I had playing classic country at the Beaconsfield, a pub on Queen Street West in Toronto in the mid 2000’s. I would sneak in music from the late eighties and nineties that I thought held it’s own with the classics from other eras of country music history. It drove my buddy insane because he had an inability to embrace anything contemporary.

    Unfortunately, his new country negativity bias was confirmed when, after playing “Alibis” the bartender leaned over and said, “That song sucked!”

    If only the two hipsters knew how wrong they were. The song is brilliant!

    This is a classic song and performance. I love it through and through.

  4. Peter – With how mainstream country is today, it’s so hard to believe that there actually was a time when people who love classic country actually disliked/hated the otherwise traditional sounding stuff from the 90’s that was just as good, imo. I guess I can sort of understand if they were fans of the older artists who suddenly got swept off the radio in the early 90’s in favor of all the new traditionalists at the time. Still, at least they were replaced by artists who actually (for the most part) continued to bring great country music to the table, which I definitely cannot say for the majority of the artists who have replaced the 90’s acts on the radio today.

    Thanks for otherwise sharing that interesting story, though! :)

  5. Tom – I would’ve loved to hear your tapes, too! :) This feature has seriously renewed my interest in cassette tapes, thanks to the early 90’s stuff being covered, so far. Recording tapes was pretty much my life back then, lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.