“Learning to Live Again”
Written by Stephanie Davis and Don Schlitz
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
April 2, 1993
A touching ballad about starting all over again.
The Road to No. 1
After a shaky start at radio with “We Shall Be Free,” The Chase produced three No. 1 hits. This is the second of the three, and the only one to miss the top of the Billboard chart.
The No. 1
If this feature has been a reminder of anything for me, it’s been of how damn good Garth Brooks was back in the day.
At its best, country music puts into words our most private thoughts and particular experiences, finding something universal in the sharing of the specific.
“Learning to Live Again” is a perfect example of this, capturing the complex emotions and nervous mistakes of a recently divorced man getting ready for his first date in many years. And on a double date, no less!
But there’s just conversation for three
And I like the way she let me get the door
And I wonder what she thinks of me
And I wish that I felt the same
She’s asked me to dance, now her hand’s in mine
This is some masterful songwriting, heightened by a masterful vocal performance from Brooks that captures a wounded man approaching a new relationship with a mix of hope and caution.
The third verse reveal that his potential new love has been feeling those same emotions throughout the evening is an especially beautiful ending because it doesn’t provide a pat resolution in the form of “happily ever after.”
These are two people learning to live again because a part of them has died, and they’re going to be a little wary getting back in the game. But maybe they’ve found the right person to do that with.
The Road From No. 1
A much less believable storyline is up next. Garth had a great year at radio in 1993.
“Learning to Live Again” gets an A.
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