Brad Paisley, “Then”

brad-paisleyWith a few notable exceptions Brad Paisley’s catalog consists of jocularity and love. He covers both categories rather well, but he also runs the risk of sounding stale after trotting out the same themes time and time again, since he’s starting to show that he can’t find a fresh way to tackle either of them.

With his latest single, “Then,” Paisley turns out another love song. While there is nothing wrong with a quality love song, this one is less than memorable and overwhelmed by clichés. This predictable little ditty expresses that while he thought he loved her at the beginning of their relationship, he loves her even more now:

“And now you’re my whole life
Now you’re my whole world
And I just can’t believe
The way I feel about you, Girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.”

Need I say more?

Of course, it’s an admirable enough sentiment with an inoffensive production, but it’s not at all impressive coming from an artist with so many years of songwriting experience behind him. Furthermore, it only blends in with other songs of its lifeless ilk rather than adding anything unique, which will likely make for a song that will not be remembered after its chart run.

Written by Brad Paisley, Chris DuBois & Ashley Gorley

Grade: B-

Listen:  Brad Paisley, “Then”


  1. After he sang this song on Idol I was telling my mom that this is a total Brad Paisley song and you picked up on it in your review.

    Although it is like most of his other love songs, I have to admit that I like this one too. I’m not sure if it’s just his voice or because I’m a fan of Brad’s but I like it. I’m sure this is another number 1 for him.

  2. You hit on something that has occurred to me before – you say that Brad operates mainly at two speeds. I like him a lot, but I have to agree with you (I do think that his guitar album is fantastic and I know that opinion is not generally shared in the country blogosphere, but…). Anyway, the “two speed” comparison is yet another way that I think Brad is similar to Vince Gill. Vince also essentially has two speeds – “What The Cowgirls Do” speed and “I Still Believe In You” speed. They are both amazing guitarists. They both have a deep and genuine love for the Opry. When Brad’s star inevitably fades a bit, I think that he, like Vince, will continue to be a frequent Opry guest and supporter (assuming Gaylord hasn’t finished off the Opry by then).

  3. I think Vince has more than two speeds though when one digs into his album tracks, especially after his box set release. Brad has a few more albums to go before reaching Vince’s level, but I haven’t heard a heck of a lot of diversity from him yet, at least not as much as I think he’s capable of offering. With that said, I can kind of see your comparison of the two. …And yuck to “What the Cowgirls Do.” I’m glad I hear other speeds beyond that song from him.:)

  4. It occurs to me that we may be speaking of two different meanings of “speed” here. Are we talking literal “speed” as in tempo or are we talking about a more abstract “speed,” as in type/categories of music? I was referring to the latter.

  5. His performance on Idol was anything to be desired. I read on Music Row…Brad Paisley’s performance of new song,fell to the floor of AI stage with a thud! Newspaper review said his performance was like a mannequin! But yet it will fly up the charts. I don’t understand the way things are done now. What happened to just plain good songs going up the charts…not just who are singing them! If some unknown had released this song, it would not have even gotten airplay! If a superstar is performing a song…good or bad, does it automatically mean it should be a #1??? Particularly if it’s the 1st release song of a new album! Things will never be as good as they once were!

  6. Gail, I think you hit the nail on the head. Paisley, Toby Keith and even Keith Urban (who you know I usually love) are all poised to go #1 with current singles that frankly don’t deserve the success, but they’ll get there anyway because those artists are automatic adds at stations. It’s a frustrating thing to watch as a music fan, and it’s wildly unfair to artists. I think all three of those artists have made great music, so I don’t want to see them succeed with anything less. They should have to earn their continued success just like everyone else.

  7. I agree with Dan. It’s the best artists that I’m hardest on. Those who have shown they’re capable of more should be expected to deliver it. I’m a Brad Paisley fan, but he’s done better than this and I want to hear it. Actually, this recording is a little better than the AI performance. For some reason, while it was technically fine, it sounded even more dull than the record. He’ll want to work on that for the live show.

  8. I agree with Dan. I like Brad Paisley. I was hoping that he might be the new Roger Miller. His early songs could be funny or tender, but they sounded real. It seems to me, and it happens to a great many artists, that after Paisley got married his songwriting went downhill. Maybe that was because his attention was not on his music as much as on his wife and child. Maybe he is so overwhelmed by love and family that he is not as sharp about the realities of life and love. But I noticed that he has sort of lost balance. It could be that the country music machine of videoes, interviews, and concerts leaves very little time to sit down and really create a great song. Maybe he is afraid he will lose his audience if he digs deeper into his well. I thought a “Letter To Me” was a funny, moving and tender song with good vocals. I think he can still be the new Roger Miller.

  9. Actually, to be fair to Poor Kim (Brad’s wife), some of Paisley’s best songs have at least been recorded after they were married–“Whiskey Lullaby”, “Letter to Me”, “Waitin’ on A Woman”. In my opinion his most solid albums came after the marriage, Time Well Wasted and Mud on the Tires.

  10. Leeann I have to say “Waitin’ On A Woman”, in my opinion, is an immature song covered with affection. It plays on a stereotype, and offers no better notion of a woman than a teenage boy might have. It sounds like the man in the song is only happy to wait for his woman only because in the end she is hot. The video was great( I loved seeing Andy Griffth), but the song just seems trite and too cute for it’s own good.

  11. Saw the song on Idol, and was distinctly unimpressed. To be honest, I found it boring, which is one thing that’s unusual to be able to say about Paisley.

  12. Craig,

    I touched upon those concerns in my review of the song. While I’m not personally offended by it, I can see how others might be, because the song is certainly built upon a stereotype.

  13. I fell for “Waitin’ on a Woman” because of the last verse, where the man is in heaven waiting for her on the other side. That’s my sweet spot. Any song that hits that is golden with me, even if I’d normally dismiss the rest of the song as trite.

  14. Yeah Kevin, I know what you mean. Songs that extol the virtues of love and peace, the “love everyone songs” (like “Put A Little Love in Your Heart”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”, etc.) hit my sweet spot, even when others think they’re too sappy or lame. I can’t help it.

  15. Totally agree with Kevin about “Waitin’ On Woman”. I didn’t actually like the beginning too much, but the last verse just hits the rights notes for me.

  16. Whew, and just when i thought Leeann and I would never disagree again. I had basically the same opinion, but I thought it was a B+, still a good, catchy and effective song to me even if it is a little cliche.

  17. I’m not usually a huge Paisley fan but 30 seconds into the first time I heard this song and I was HOOKED! I think it’s AWESOME

  18. Ya know, I got this feeling when 5th Gear came out, that I had heard all this stuff before.
    I feel bad for Brad, it’s gotta be tough coming up with new ways to say it, but dude…

  19. Hey if you all do it better then by all means do so! But I think he does a great job & I love all of his songs especially this one!

  20. I think this song is wonderful and speaks to a woman’s heartstrings. I would love for a man to say these things to me and I’m glad that he’s not afraid to say them! Go Brad, another #1. She’s Everything was a favorite of mine too.

  21. I love this song i thinkit is amazing .. Brad has become a more stronger writer after he got married i think because now he has more love to show than ever!

  22. I like this song a lot. It’s well-crafted, brilliantly played and faultlessly sung. However, it doesn’t pass the ‘tearjerker’ test. This song really ought to make me fill up, but it doesn’t quite.

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