“Can’t Break it to My Heart”
Written by Earl Clark, Tracy Lawrence, Kirk Roth, and Elbert West
#1 (1 week)
August 28, 1993
Another quintessential nineties country hit from Tracy Lawrence.
The Road to No. 1
Tracy Lawrence was enjoying his commercial peak with the Alibis project, kicking off four straight No. 1 hits with the title track. In between that chart topper and this one, he won the ACM Award for Top New Male Vocalist.
The No. 1
His peak was perfectly timed with the moment where the nineties country formula was perfected, but before it got stale under the deluge of hat acts with less talent than Lawrence.
It’s almost a sin that his label didn’t want him to record this song. They were trying to push him to do love ballads like labelmate John Michael Montgomery.
But Lawrence fought to include it on the album, and turned in a fantastic performance. The lyrics are complex and difficult to deliver, but he does so flawlessly.
This could’ve been some clever wordplay in search of a song – “I’ve got it through my head, I just can’t break it to my heart” – but he builds it out into a genuine expression of confusion and heartbreak. This song captures the moment when you understand that a relationship has come to an end, but you aren’t quite ready to emotionally process it.
He’s still going through the stages of grief, with the second verse capturing the bargaining phase quite well, but we know how this is going to end, and so does he.
What a great song.
The Road From No. 1
Lawrence has an all-star video on deck for his next single, giving Vince Gill’s clip from earlier this year a run for its money.
“Can’t Break it to My Heart” gets an A.
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