“Song for Another Time”
Written by Matt Jenkins, Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, and Brad Francis Tursi
This is a song about too many songs.
The premise is solid, but the trouble lays in the execution. The idea is that you know a heartbreak is coming and will be listening to sad songs tomorrow, but that you want to pretend today that you’re living a love song. It’s essentially “I Can’t Make You Love Me” with a healthy dose of denial, so it’s fitting that the Bonnie Raitt classic is one of the songs name-checked.
The problem is that there are so many other songs dropped in there that nearly all of the lyrics are constructed from song titles. The inclusion of songs by everyone from Hank Williams and Hal Ketchum to Guns ‘n’ Roses and Katy Perry sounds more like an attempt to say, “Hey! Look how diverse our musical tastes are!” than to communicate a consistent emotion or experience.
It doesn’t work because even though the titles might make sense within the context of the song, the songs themselves do not. “Small Town Saturday Night” isn’t about a night on the town; it’s about the joys and limitations of living in a small town, one that is nothing like the one described in “Paradise City.” “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” is about loneliness and isolation, but not the romantic kinds. “Free Fallin'” is used in the context of living it up for one more night, but it’s a cold, calculated song about breaking someone else’s heart and not particularly caring that you’ve done so.
Knowing the songs that are referenced undermines “Song for Another Time.” They’re all from different genres and eras, but they do have one thing in common: they’re far better than the song that references all of them.
Yes, the whole thing about name-checking songs in songs is every bit as irritating as the Bros name-checking legends like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, etc., without understanding why they are legends to start with. The C- rating is justified here (IMHO).
Never thought it’d come to this… list songs listing songs! Guess the Nashville circles have run out of tailgate cliches.
Gary Allen’s “Songs About Rain” is a song that list songs that is very good. This song, however, doesn’t measure up.
When I first heard the song, I had high hopes for about ten seconds because the intro is really really good. Then the fourth verse happened which namechecked “Yesterday” and the whole song just nosedived. But still, the first ten seconds or so are pretty good which is more than you can say for any Luke Bryan song.
This is their best song…and it still sucks.
I will say…this song does probably warrant mentioning for being the first country song in history to reference Lionel Richie’s “Dancing On the Ceiling”, which I find to be a guilty pleasure, and one of the finest pieces of cheese ever released in the 1980s (particularly the video, which has people literally dancing on a ceiling..and includes Rodney Dangerfield). And keep in mind…that song is still miles, miles better than “Song for Another Time”. If that last statement doesn’t explain Old Dominion, or the state of country radio right now…I don’t know what does.
Hey, at least they correctly identified “I Will Always Love You” as a breakup song. Don’t they get points for that?