“What She’s Doing Now”
Written by Pat Alger and Garth Brooks
#1 (4 weeks)
February 15 – March 7, 1992
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
February 7 – February 14, 1992
The last in a string of ten consecutive No. 1 hits spends multiple weeks at the top.
The Road to No. 1
As the UK vinyl sleeve above suggests, Garth Brooks was a very big deal in early 1992. Ropin’ the Wind kept returning to the No. 1 slot on the all-genre album chart, spending almost all of the first three months of the year in the penthouse, twice interrupted by Nirvana. However, despite his label’s attempt to break him as a pop act overseas, Garth was getting all of his stateside airplay on country stations, and that was by choice.
While he was at his commercial peak, Garth sent a thoughtful ballad to the top of the country charts, and it stayed there for a month.
The No. 1
While “Rodeo” and “Shameless” found Garth pushing beyond his previous boundaries as a vocalist, “What She’s Doing Now” is a return to the more subtle and lightly adorned approach of his earliest ballads.
It’s solidly structured, in a way that will be familiar to those following along with this feature. The title is used in two ways. First, with the protagonist wondering what’s she’s doing with her life, and second, with him inventorying what she’s been doing to his heart and soul in her absence.
For those who thought “Shameless” was too bombastic, this record should feel like a welcome respite from its immediate predecessor.
For me, this record needed a bit more oomph to get it across the finish line. It’s all a bit boring to my ears, but I understand its appeal. It’s just not for me.
The Road From No. 1
Garth missed the top on both charts with his next single, “Papa Loved Mama,” but would return there with the fifth and final single from Ropin’ the Wind. We’ll cover it when we reach the summer of 1992.
“What She’s Doing Now” gets a B.