“You Can Feel Bad“
Written by Matraca Berg and Tim Krekel
#1 (2 weeks)
March 23 – March 30, 1996
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
March 15, 1996
A departing lover gets eviscerated on his way out the door.
The Road to No. 1
After When Fallen Angels Fly produced back-to-back No. 1 hits with “Here I Am” and “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am,” Loveless went top ten with “Halfway Down.” While that song was at radio, Angels won the CMA Award for Album of the Year. Loveless kept her hot streak going with the lead single from The Trouble With the Truth, one of two chart-toppers from the album.
The No. 1
All those ex-boyfriends of Taylor Swift who complain about their shortcomings showing up in her songs should thank God that they never dated Matraca Berg.
Berg co-wrote two consecutive Billboard No. 1 singles, which is no small feat for a songwriter. “Wild Angels” was all about a relationship at its best. “You Can Feel Bad” is an eviscerating takedown of an exiting lover who is the worst.
The genius of the lyric is the jujitsu employed, weaponizing his patronizing concern for her well-being and turning it against him. This exposes the hollow cynicism of his feigned worry about the woman he is leaving behind.
“Your head is hanging and you look real sad,” Loveless sings with mocking disregard. “Maybe you should have called?”
Loveless is the perfect vehicle for this song, with her ability to communicate vulnerability, resilience, and bemusement all in one line reading. Paired with Berg’s poison pen, the chorus is relentless in its cutting dismissal of her wannabe heartbreaker:
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Picture me crying, reading all your love letters
Walking around in your old sweaters, baby
You can feel bad it makes you feel better
He really should have called.
The Road From No. 1
Loveless followed this No. 1 hit with “A Thousand Times a Day,” a George Jones cover that went top fifteen. She returned to the top later this year with her final No. 1 hit to date.
“You Can Feel Bad” gets an A.
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