Single Review: George Strait, “I Believe”

I-BelieveWriting a song about a current event that pulls at the heartstrings is a difficult thing to accomplish without seeming opportunistic, not to mention that the part of current fades away over time and can potentially make a song seem irrelevant as a result. It’s inevitable, however, that such songs will be written, since one of the most emotional ways to respond to a tragedy is to process feelings through music.

So, a country song about the horrific event that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, last December, a mere 7 months ago, is tasked with the delicate undertaking of striking that sensitive balance of honoring rather than exploiting. Although it seems impossible to do, Alan Jackson did it with “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” for the worst national tragedy in my lifetime. And while this may not turn out to have the same broad recognition as that untouchable musical moment, George Strait’s tribute to those who lost their lives in Newtown successfully does the same.

“I Believe” quietly displays a strong faith that expresses the solace felt by believing in a higher power that can help heal the most broken of hearts. Supported by gentle production, Strait tenderly sings of the lost “26 angels” with palpable reverence and hope. Strait’s voice is as solid as ever, including strong and mournful falsetto notes, which perfectly emotes the sincerity and compassion that a song of this magnitude requires. There are no lyrical or note-bending histrionics by Gentleman George here – just a tribute from a humble man conveying a simple sentiment of real heartbreak, buoyed by faith and hope.

Written by Dean Dillon, Bubba Strait & George Strait

Grade: A

Listen: “I Believe”


  1. 3 straight singles that were given an ‘A’ (“All Kinds Of Kinds”, “Stripes” and this). Has that ever happened before?

    As for the song, it’s been one of my faves off the album since first listen.

    Completely agree.

  2. …i’m always a little reluctant with my likeing for “omg-tunes”, when they are not sung by joan osbourne. this one is a particularly difficult one. it sounds good, but things just don’t work like that. after such tragedies, those hit don’t believe anymore and the ones left behind neither – when the cameras are not on and there anymore. the only believers were those, who thought for a moment that gun laws would Change for the better. now, they know that they were just dreaming and not believing.

    in today’s america you just have to forgive your cheantin’ husband on tv, when he ran around a little on his way running for some office, regret with teared up eyes fooling the world of sports and your kids seven times in a row on oprah’s couch, or sell change like mad and deliver more of the same during two terms.

    on top of everything, add those christian country dj’s, who might just get a little too carried away with it. that picture in my head alone kinda kills it for me for good.

    all things considered,i do not believe it is a good song.

  3. …if i was, the-trouble-w-t-t, then let me point out thas this was not my intention. perhaps, i should not have compared it with aj’s “where were you…” – arguably the greatest country song ever – which managed to draw a rather plausible conclusion in the face of the almost unbelievable, by simply expressing how it felt for so many in those days that no-one, who witnessed them, will ever forget

    george straits song starts out well, but quickly drowns the unbearable reality under the “faith-avalanche”, which i find just not as believable as aj’s brilliant take on emotions after a great tragedy.

    however, i’m not claiming that my view is the gospel. it is only one opinion in a field, where many others and totally different ones are easily possible.

    it’s these songs that make country music what it is – possibly the finest genre to deal with all sorts of things in live. that buzz can hardly be killed by a single opinion.

  4. Ha, Tom. No worries. I appreciate your opinion. This song certainly isn’t for everyone and easily could have follen flat for me too. As soon as I heard of it’s inspiration, I was skeptical and braced myself to feel uncomfortable and possibly even annoyed by it, but it ended up possessing qualities that worked for me in the end. I brought up AJ’s “Where Were You” and I think it’s one of the best songs that deals with big scale tragedy, but I also know people who are annoyed by and skeptical about that song. So, one size certainly does not fit all and it doesn’t have to.

  5. …worried i wasn’t, leeann, but i should have expected a few more comments upon the review of this latest from george strait.

    endorsing faith in the face of tragedy by a radio staple like him is no small statement, especially when it is connected with the one in newtown. unlike the household tv-evangelist, i believe faith is more a friend of the quiet than the loud and blatant. but who am i to judge.

    anyway, i enjoyed the review, as for the rest we unfortunately experience the proof of the sammy kershaw-theorem: politics, religion and her…

  6. Really like this song however was surprised to see it released as single #2. It had debuted at #50 on the Country Airplay chart, hopefully it will pick up some momentum.

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