Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Clint Black, “Something That We Do”

“Something That We Do”

Clint Black

Written by Clint Black and Skip Ewing

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 21, 1997

Clint Black begins another run of consecutive chart-topping hits.

The Road to No. 1

Clint Black followed “Like the Rain” with the top ten hit “Half Way Up,” which was the second and final single from The Greatest Hits.  Black then previewed his sixth studio album with “Still Holdin’ On,” a top fifteen duet with Martina McBride.  The next three singles from the album all went to No. 1.

The No. 1

There are two solid No. 1 singles from Nothin’ But the Taillights.  We’ll get to them soon.

But this one is God awful.  Just embarrassingly bad.

Y’all, he wrote these lines down on paper, looked at it, and thought, “good enough!” and radio signed off on it, too:

Love is wide, love is long
Love is deep and love is strong
Love is why I love this song
And I hope you love it too

The only saving grace is a decent vocal performance and an arrangement that deviates from his tired mid-nineties template, which makes it a notch above his “One Emotion” nadir but isn’t nearly enough to elevate it any further in his catalog.

An uninspired dud from an artist who should’ve known better.

The Road From No. 1

As noted above, two more No. 1 hits are on deck from this album. We’ll cover them both in 1998.

“Something That We Do” gets a D.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: George Strait, “Today My World Slipped Away”

6 Comments

  1. It’s so disheartening to continue to see Clint Black mailing in his lyrics. It might even be worse in this instance because two accomplished songwriters failed to call bullshit on one another after churning this drivel out together. Black is a gifted enough vocalist that he can make weak lyrics sound stronger than they are, but when printed out, the lyrics’ juvenile simplicity, sophomoric philosophy, and predictable rhyme schemes are laid embarrassingly bare.

    “Something That We Do” also may be the grandfather of the “Just doing what we do” trend in country songwriting that Grady Smith has called so much attention to in his YouTube posts.

    You can sense what Ewing and Black were trying to get at, love as active works, but it’s like they couldn’t work their way through the heady concept. As written, the lyrics read like a brainstorming session, a list of ideas to be fleshed out later. This song feels like it was assembled/written on a deadline and close to quitting time.

    I agree it is a dud. Sometimes I try to convince myself it has a conversational quaintness and charm to it, other times I am pretty sure it just stinks.

    We, as his fans, shouldn’t have to work harder trying to find the merits of Black’s most recent output then he apparently does producing it.

    1
    • They really did fumble the ball on this one. The sentiment is sweet, but one need look no further than Rodney Crowell’s “After All This Time” to celebrate a partnership’s longevity or “Meet in the Middle” to capture love being something you work for.

      • Ooh, I do love “After All This Time,” and that’s a fair comparison.

        I also love “Meet In The Middle,” but comparing it to “Something That We Do” is like comparing apples and oranges for me because one is an upbeat sing along jam, and the other is a tender ballad.

        Another song I’d compare it to, as far as sentiment and lyrical content go, is Alan Jackson’s “I’d Love You All Over Again,” which I also love.

  2. Welp, I guess my bias for this late 1997/early 1998 period is really gonna show here, along with my biases for traditional country instrumentation and pretty sounding sentimental ballads, because I absolutely LOVE this song! This is actually still one of my all time favorites from Clint Black.

    For me, the song’s beautiful melody, the lovely acoustic driven arrangement featuring some pretty fiddle and steel parts, and Clint’s sincere vocal performance have always been enough to make this one a favorite for me, even if some of the lyrics do feel a bit undercooked. Sonny Garrish seemed to be on a roll around late 1997/early 1998 with several cuts on the radio featuring his excellent steel playing, and this was just one of many. For me, the way the his steel sounds on this song and others from this time period (Kenny Chesney’s “A Chance,” Tim McGraw’s “Everywhere,” Daryle Singletary’s “The Note,” etc.) has always sounded perfect during the colder months because it’s like the sound equivalent of both the chills you get from the cold weather AND the emotional impact of the songs. Likewise, the lovely sound of the low moaning fiddle during the choruses was also perfect for the Fall and Winter months. Even to this day, whenever this song comes on my ipod or Spotify, as soon as the opening acoustic guitar starts, I picture myself back in late ’97 on a nice crisp Fall/Winter night. If there’s one thing I can totally agree with in this review, it’s that the arrangement was indeed a welcome change and a breath of fresh air from Black’s previous tired and dull mid 90’s sound.

    While it may be true that there are better written songs about long lasting relationships, this one has just always worked and stood out enough for me, regardless, and I always found it to be endearing. I always liked the idea of treating love as a verb instead of a noun like he does here. I actually think the first two verses and the chorus are fine enough as he’s reflecting on the wedding day to his partner and how what they’ve done since then to keep their relationship going still works today. The final verse does indeed have an undercooked feel, and I can see how it makes some cringe, but I kind of hear it as the narrator just throwing all logic out the window and allowing himself to get a little silly and extra sentimental just for a brief moment at the end, which is what love does tend to do to some people every now and then. Personally, I smile every time Clint sings “Love is why I love this song, and I hope you love it too.” For me, the silliness and simplicity of that line is part of its charm. I’ve also always liked how the opening lines about their wedding day are repeated near the end, which I always thought was nice.

    As you can probably tell already, this is one of those songs that really brings back a lot of great memories from late ’97 and early ’98 for me, which only adds to my personal bias to this song. I especially remember hearing it on countless weekday afternoons after my dad picked me up from 6th grade, and we’d have dinner at either McDonald’s or KFC. I particularly remember hearing it on a cold and rainy afternoon when we were just arriving at the KFC, and thinking the song just sounded great with the weather. “Something That We Do” was also such a perfect song for me to hear on the radio during the holiday season in 1997, which is still one of my personal favorite Christmas seasons of my life. :) It especially makes me think of the beautiful Christmas decorations they used to have at Fair Oaks Mall during that time.

    The video for “Something That We Do” was also one I always really enjoyed seeing on GAC during that time. I especially always loved the part of him singing right next to the campfire at night during the second chorus as his vocals soared higher and the instrumentation grew more intense with the “shivering” steel guitar and moaning fiddle, which I always thought of as the video’s climax. I even love how you can hear the quiet crackling of the fire for just a brief moment after he belts out the high notes of “where I end and where you start….” I also love the beautiful Southwestern location. It’s still one of my personal favorite videos of his today.

    This is also the song that made me want to get Clint’s Nothin’ But The Taillights album for Christmas in 2001 because I hadn’t heard it in so long, and I remembered it being one of my favorites around 6th grade.

    While I like this one a lot more than both you and Peter, I can also see where you guys are coming from here, and I appreciate reading different opinions on these songs, even if I don’t always agree with them. At least, it sounds like Kevin and I will both be back on the Clint Black train with the next two singles.

  3. I like the song a little bit more that you and would give it a B. Kinda disappointing to see how hit and miss Clint Black became throughout the decade.

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