“Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)”
Billy Ray Cyrus
Written by Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks, and Kim Williams
#1 (2 weeks)
September 18 , 1993
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 17, 1993
Garth gets loud.
The Road to No. 1
The Chase was a successful album by any objective measure, producing three No. 1 hits and selling millions of copies. But commercially, it was a few steps down from its predecessors, No Fences and Ropin’ the Wind. So with In Pieces, Garth shook off the seriousness of The Chase and put out a song loud enough to be heard in the back row of a sold out arena.
The No. 1
The protagonist of “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up” is the least interesting character to pop up in a Garth Brooks single to date. She has more in common with the cardboard cutout party girls that Brooks & Dunn were starting to sing about around this time.
I’m not big on putting the decline of a genre on the shoulders of one artist, especially when that artist did more to evangelize on behalf of country music than any man before or since. But this turning point in Garth’s catalog is perfectly in line with what started to happen as 1993 progressed. Novelty songs are on the rise, and the young audience that had embraced country music is now being pandered to.
“Ain’t Goin’ Down” is a fun record. Fun as hell, really. Garth’s rapid fire delivery is egged on by the most rock and roll arrangement to hit the top of the charts in the nineties so far. And I have always loved this line: “The stalls are clean, the horse is fed, they say she’s grounded ’til she’s dead.”
But this wild child isn’t a real person. She’s a caricature that exists in service of a song about how fun it is to party all night. The point of “Ain’t Goin’ Down” is to sing along with it with a beer in your hand.
Which is fine. Not every song has to have a deeper meaning. But we’re nearing the point in the nineties where the balance gets thrown off and this is a harbinger of what’s coming.
The Road From No. 1
Garth’s worst No. 1 single yet is up next and I’m so annoyed that I have to write about it. Stay tuned.
“Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” gets a B.
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