Single Review: John Prine, “I Remember Everything”

John Prine

“I Remember Everything”

John Prine

Written by Pat McLaughlin and John Prine

This just isn’t fair. Following the massive success of 2018’s The Tree Of Forgiveness, “I Remember Everything” was supposed to be an introduction to John Prine’s newest album – not his goodbye to the world.

First revealed through a virtual tribute, “I Remember Everything” is the final song Prine recorded. It’s tender, sparse, and – while only an acoustic performance that was likely due for something more – imbues all of the natural warmth one would expect from a Prine song.

When artists release reflections and meditations on mortality, they usually come with the implied notion that these narrators plan to use the time left for the better. It’s fitting, but all the more sad, then, that Prine’s final song reads like he knew it was his last trip around the sun. He revisits old memories in his mind and acknowledges it’s the people around him who made them all worthwhile, but ultimately remarks that he’s “alone as I can be”; that final trip is one we need to make on our own, after all.

Still, the events surrounding the song are more somber than the actual song itself. Tragic as it is, Prine’s never been one to wallow in too much sorrow. Indeed, “I Remember Everything” carries the same elements that mark his best work – world-weary wisdom through an innocent perspective, where the optimism ultimately wins out. Leave it to Prine, too, to save room for the mundane details as part of the treasures he remembers from before, at least in the first verse. It’s a testament to how he took nothing for granted and ultimately cherished love the most.

Grade: A

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