Single Review: Gary Allan, “Kiss Me When I’m Down”

When you build a song around what is essentially a pun, you have to do one of two things.  Either sell the pun so well that it overcomes its inherent corniness, or build such a strong song around it that the pun doesn’t make a lasting impact.

“Kiss Me When I’m Down” tries to do both, and is mostly successful.  Allan sings it so well that the focus is as much on the pain in his voice as it is on the lyrics he’s singing.  Plus, the title is used so infrequently that it can’t really diminish the song as a whole.  But it doesn’t elevate it, either.

So we’re left with what is  a fairly typical Gary Allan record these days. Decent song, sung well, arranged tastefully.  A bit of California flavor here and there.  It doesn’t have the fiery intensity of his earlier work, but it’s been clear for a while now that Allan has already peaked.  “Kiss Me When I’m Down” certainly won’t accelerate his current downward slope, but he’ll need stronger material if he hopes to reverse the slide.

Written by Andrew Dorff, Josh Kear, and Chris Tompkins

Grade: B

Listen: Kiss Me When I’m Down


  1. Peaked? I’m not so sure. I guess it depends on what you mean by “peaked.” Will Allan have the combination of chart success and excellent records that he had in the past? Probably not. But I think that, at least creatively, he’s not done by a long shot.

  2. Definitely agree with the review. This track is a cut above most of what’s on his most recent two albums, so I’d like it to be a hit, but it still doesn’t feel as inspired as the best stuff from that Smoke Rings to Tough All Over stretch. I don’t believe him as much.

    One thing is that his voice sounds badly recorded somehow, though the performance is emotive as ever.

    My main beef, though, is that the verses just sound lazily written. That “Zeppelin 3-CD case” part, especially – too silly for a song like this.

  3. Gary Allan has peaked? Since when? He’s headlining his own tours now, and his fan club parties keep having to move to bigger venues because of the number of people who want to see him. That doesn’t sound like an artist that has peaked to me! No, he’s not getting the top of the charts positions that he was for a blessed few years, but frankly, when I listen to half of what IS topping the charts, I’m driven to listen to Gary’s real music to cleanse my pallette of the country pop passed off as popular music nowdays. If you’re still wishing Gary’d go back to doing what he did 10 years ago, fine, give up on him. I however have found that I love ALL of his catalog, from what first attracted me to his music 10 years ago right on up through his current album, this song included. I fell in love with it the first time I heard him perform it months before the album came out, and I am still a big fan of it. If Gary’s on any sort of slide as is claimed in this review, then I’m going to “enjoy the ride all the way down” to quote another of his songs.

  4. WOW…really? This song is nothing short of AMAZING. It tells such a strong story with incredible vocals. Gary Allan FANS are so fortunate that he shares his very heart in soul in every lyric. Not very often that you can buy each cd an artist puts out there over a period of 11+ years and truly love EVERY track on them. That is rare Gary does that….During Garys shows he gives the audience all that he has…so very hard not to get caught up in all the emotion he shows and gives…this song live deserves a A+

  5. …to place gary allan in the country universe, you’ll probably end up in some really far away galaxy these days. then again, what he’s doing out there sounds great – in a bombastic way. his music hasn’t been country anymore for quite a while now, but it’s gary allan through and through and it seems to work for him and music fans alike. even for outright masochists as in this particular case.

  6. Someone else(American Twang) said it best..“Kiss Me When I’m Down” is a masterpiece of a song about missing someone so much that you’ll let them use you, regardless of the emotional cost. Allan’s singing on “Kiss me When I’m Down” is emotionally charged, and brilliantly draws out the song’s embedded masochism. He’s addicted to this woman like a junkie’s stuck on dope; he knows taking her in will cause him more suffering, but it’s worth it for the brief reprieve her presence offers. Allan sells it all with the conviction of a man who’s lived it.
    And I too MK am enjoying the ride!!

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