“We’ll Burn That Bridge”
Brooks & Dunn
Written by Don Cook and Ronnie Dunn
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
July 30, 1993
About as sturdily structured as a bridge on fire.
The Road to No. 1
After “Lost and Found” went top five, Brooks & Dunn matched its performance with the lead single and title track of their second studio album, Hard Workin’ Man. The next two singles made it to No. 1.
The No. 1
This is the weaker of those two chart-toppers, and by a wide margin.
Here is where we start to get female characters that are constructed from cardboard, and they are a staple of the Brooks & Dunn catalog moving forward.
Not because of misogyny or anything. Just from clunky songwriting that tries to build a compelling storyline around a throwaway metaphor. This song isn’t really about the woman that Dunn greets with, “Hello, Miss Heartbroke. Sit your sweet self down.” It’s about getting to the chorus so he can make a torturous connection between lighting up a new flame and burning an old bridge.
Legend has it that Kix Brooks missed out on a co-writing credit here because he couldn’t get past the fact that they got the saying wrong. “It’s not ‘we’ll burn that bridge when we get there,'” he argued. “It’s ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.'”
He’s not wrong. But it’s the least of this song’s problems.
What saves it from being a total mess is a playful Dunn vocal and some killer fiddle work. But neither of those make the price of entry worth paying.
The Road From No. 1
Next up is a heartfelt ballad that is grounded in reality. We’ll get there before the end of 1993.
“We’ll Burn That Bridge” gets a C.
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