Retro Single Review: Tim McGraw, "Unbroken"

2002 | Peak: #1

“Unbroken” was the fourth consecutive #1 single from Set This Circus Down, a streak unmatched by any other Tim McGraw album.

It’s easy to understand why.  With its spirited production and enthusiastic vocal, it practically radiated joy.

Sure, it’s a simple “love gone right” song, but it’s done quite well.   I guess it wasn’t his most memorable single, as I didn’t remember it much at all.   But revisiting it

for this review, I felt a nice thrill of rediscovery.  Those don’t happen too often.

Written by Holly Lamar and Annie Roboff

Grade: B+

Next: Red Ragtop

Previous: The Cowboy in Me




  1. Never heard “Unbroken” before. According to wiki, it was released on May 20, 2002 and the only NYC country radio station, Y-107, had closed a few weeks earlier on May 7, 2002. I guess it was on CMT but I don’t recall ever seeing a video for it.

  2. This was my first favorite Tim McGraw song, which I first heard on my copy of Set This Circus Down that I had randomly found at a garage sale, and decided to check out. I wasn’t quite the discerning listener then that I like to think I am now, but “Unbroken” always seemed to radiate an infectious joy and exuberance, and it still puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it today.

  3. I wanted to post about Brad Paisley’s song “Southern Comfort Zone,” but after composing my post I was told comments were closed. I wouldn’t do this execpt that I’m mad that I was not warned that comments were closed before typing my comment. There seemed to be little reason why comments would be closed. Nobody was rude. So I’m copying my post here: Anyway, I really liked countryuniverse but i think its a shame how the site treated the “Southern Comfort Zone” thread.


    The review calls the song a “misguided, watery mess,” includes an irrelevant potshot at Jason Aldean, and the song’s production to be a “tin-eared train wreck.”

    Then when commenters post the actual lyrics to the song, which strongly suggest that the review’s interpretation of the song is doubtful at best, the commenters are accused of being “not appropriate” even though the commenters were relatively polite, and and at most said the review “missed it.”

    I don’t get it. Why is it “appropriate” for the reviews to use insulting language toward the work of country singers (including singers whose work isn’t even at issue) but commenters can’t say the review “missed” the interpretation even when the commenter backs up that claim with solid evidence?

    Apparently, we are told because “everyone perceives art differently, such that no one opinion can be fittingly called ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ But even if there is no right or wrong, there is opinion supported by relevant evidence. And here the posters suggested that the relevant evidence was at odds with the reviewer’s opinion on the song’s lyrics. That hardly seems out of bounds.

    The reviewer also claims that such language in the comments section “saps the enjoyment right out of what should be a perfectly friendly debate.” But the reviewer started the whole thing by calling the song a “misguided, watery mess,” with a “trainwreck of a production.” Its hard to see how the reviewer can criticize commenters for not being friendly when the reviewer started out hurling insults.

  4. …well, sweetcheeks, looks like country universe has its own little “born in the usa” controversy.
    leaning also more toward the view that brad paisley wanted to bring across the message of keeping an open mind no matter where your origins may be, i’d be also slightly unhappy, if the closing of the respective thread was more than a technical glitch.

    let’s wait and see.

  5. It was a technical glitch, and one that is entirely my fault. When I updated the spam plugin, I forgot to disable the feature that automatically closes comments on a post after thirty days. The Paisley review just hit that mark. Apparently, the glitch went unnoticed for some time because not too many recent posts have prompted ongoing conversation.

    My apologies on behalf of Country Universe! Sweetcheeks, please feel free to post your comment on the original thread. We want the conversation to continue.

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