Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Brooks & Dunn, “That Ain’t No Way to Go”

“That Ain’t No Way to Go”

Brooks & Dunn

Written by Kix Brooks, Don Cook, and Ronnie Dunn


#1 (1 week)

June 11, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 3, 1994

Brooks & Dunn close out their sophomore set with their seventh No. 1 single.

The Road to No. 1

Kix Brooks came a bit closer to topping the chart with a lead vocal when “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” peaked at No. 2.  He was a co-writer on their next single, which topped both charts in June 1994.

The No. 1

Lipstick messages were apparently a big thing in the nineties. Here, it’s “Goodbye, baby” written across the bathroom mirror.

The women in Brooks & Dunn songs will get increasingly less plausible with time, but aside from that opening vignette, the focus here is on the broken hearted man she left behind, who’s going to “make a whiskey wish upon a star” as he tries to process “what must be a bad dream.”

Dunn sings the fire out of this one, putting real pathos into every reading of “that ain’t no way to go.”  His way with a ballad could match any of his nineties peers, and help glaze over the decreasingly believable character setups of their songs, at least when the tempo was slowed down.

The Road From No. 1

Their third album would produce their next No. 1 single with its leadoff hit, and we’ll get to it later in 1994.

“That Ain’t No Way to Go” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I don’t know what it is, but I always thought this song and She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind sounded very similar. I think it comes from the choruses having a very similar melody. Nonetheless, I still enjoy this song.

  2. CJ – I always thought this and “She’s Not The Cheatin’ Kind” sounded similar to each other, as well! I love both songs, but I think I like this one a tad more, mainly for the production and Ronnie’s emotional performance.

    This is another one of my personal favorite B&D ballads. As already mentioned, Ronnie sings the heck out of it, and he puts so much emotion into it that you can’t help but also think “Come on, girl, that ain’t no way to go!” and feel sorry for the narrator’s heartbreaking situation. I especially love hearing him soar vocally on the last “That ain’t no way to GOOOO!” in the final chorus, which always gives me chills. I’ve also always loved some of the lines scattered throughout the second verse like “Make a whiskey wish upon a star” and “It’s such a cold blow from out of the dark.” The “train whistle blowing down the track” also always puts a pretty cool image in my mind. For me, this has always been another one of those songs that sounds even better at night time because it just has that overall dark feel to it.

    I’ve always loved the production on the record, as well, and I consider it to be the last one featuring Don Cook’s early 90’s production style to be successful on the radio. I personally think this one has aged better sonically than some of the other hits that B&D would have in the next few years.

    I always liked this song whenever I heard it as a recurrent throughout the mid 90’s, but it’s one of those I grew to love even more after my dad got me B&D’s Greatest Hits Collection for Christmas in 1997. :)

  3. Although not lipstick messages per se, Kevin’s comment immediately brought to my mind George Ducas’ “Lipstick Promises” and Mark Collie’s “Lipstick Don’t Lie.”

    As for this latest number one from Brooks & Dunn it just feels like they are still solidly in their groove. Dunn sounds amazing and,as Jamie pointed out, Cook’s production sensibilities are well matched with what the dynamic duo are doing.

  4. Peter – Kevin’s mentioning of lipstick messages actually reminded me of Blackhawk’s “Goodbye Says It All.” Those two other songs you mentioned are also pretty dang good, though!

  5. I had liked several B&D songs and was a casual fan. But this song made me a diehard fan. I used to play this song over and over. Never got tired of it.

    Dunn sounded amazing on this song. It remains my favorite of their songs to this day.

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