Every #1 Single of the Nineties: John Michael Montgomery, “I Can Love You Like That”

“I Can Love You Like That”

John Michael Montgomery

Written by Maribeth Derry, Steve Diamond, and Jennifer Kimball

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

April 22, May 6 – May 13, 1995

John Michael Montgomery completes his big ballad trilogy.

The Road to No. 1

John Michael Montgomery is enjoying his longest run of consecutive No. 1 singles during this time period.  After the final two singles from Kickin’ it Up went No. 1, he scored two more No. 1 hits with the first two singles from his third album, John Michael Montgomery.

The No. 1

“I Can Love You Like That” is the third of Montgomery’s three mega-ballad hits.  He’ll do a lot more of these songs, but it was “I Love the Way You Love Me,” “I Swear,” and “I Can Love You Like That” that powered his first three albums to multi-platinum sales, a level he wouldn’t return to after those first three releases.

It was hard to evaluate this one independently from the earlier two back in 1995, and it isn’t much easier now.  This isn’t even the only one that was a big hit by All-4-One.  Just like “I Swear,” they sang this one better than him, too.

It’s a competent ballad with a bit more pathos than its two predecessors, simply because there is a little bit of tension here. “If you give me a chance,” he sings, “I can love you like that.”  This suggests that the relationship he’s singing about might not have gotten out of the starting gate yet.

Of the three, “I Love the Way You Love Me” has the most specificity and “I Swear” has the grandest scale.  This feels very much like a threequel that the success of those two made a business-minded inevitability, though I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t enjoy this more than the other two if it had come out first.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t put any of them on a John Michael Montgomery mixtape of my own.  He has some fantastically underrated singles that don’t qualify for this feature.  Such was the state of the charts by the mid-1990s.

The Road From No. 1

He’s got another No. 1 on deck this year, and it’s a tongue-twister. We’ll cover it very soon.

“I Can Love You Like That” gets a B-.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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2 Comments

  1. Of JMM’s big three love ballads, this was always my least favorite one simply because the melody to this one doesn’t quite grab me as much, and it’s the most poppy one to my ears. At least “I Love The Way You Love Me” has a nice early 90’s neo-traditional style production and a beautiful melody, while “I Swear” has a more catchy melody and a very sincere sounding vocal from JMM (The video for “I Swear” has still been known to get my eyes watery, as well). Interesting observation, though, about this song being more about a relationship that hasn’t quite gotten off the ground yet, making it sort of a “prequel” to the other two songs.

    Ironically, I heard the All-4-One versions of “I Swear” and “I Can Love You Like That” before the Montgomery versions since they both came out before I got back into country radio (The next JMM tune coming up was the one all over radio when I finally got back to it). The first time I ever heard Montgomery’s version of “I Swear” was on the jukebox at our nearest Pizza Hut, at least a year or two after it originally came out, and I remember thinking it was a cover of All-4-One. I even remember another customer singing along to it at the time, lol. As for “I Can Love You Like That,” I would see the video for All-4-One’s version all the time at the TV section in Incredible Universe, a sadly short lived, but truly awesome, HUGE electronic store that I loved going to back then. I didn’t hear or pay attention to Montgomery’s version until my 4th grade teacher was playing his self-titled 1995 album in the classroom before class started.

  2. Quite frankly it was years before I heard the All-4-One version of “I Swear. My stepson and his to be picked it out for his wedding and I told him that there was a better version on the market. They liked both versions and played both versions at their wedding

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