Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Trisha Yearwood, “Perfect Love”

“Perfect Love”

Trisha Yearwood

Written by  Sunny Russ and Stephony Smith


#1 (2 weeks)

April 4 – April 11, 1998

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

March 27 – April 3, 1998

Trisha Yearwood kicks off three consecutive No. 1 singles by female superstars.

The Road to No. 1

Shortly after winning Grammy awards for each of her two previous No. 1 singles, “How Do I Live” and “In Another’s Eyes,” Yearwood scored her third consecutive No. 1 single from {Songbook} A Collection of Hits.

The No. 1

There are a lot of great country songs that mourn a broken relationship through listing the mundane, every day details of life that they now desperately miss.  It’s been done brilliantly (“A Good Year For the Roses”) and poorly (“Ordinary Life”) and everything in between.

What makes “Perfect Love” such a cool record is that it has the self-awareness to celebrate those mundane, every day details of a shared life and presents them as evidence of a perfect love.  In a decade that featured one treacly ballad after another, this joyous record stands out for its attention to those little moments that are best shared together:

“Hey let’s drive to the edge of town, see what there is to see and then turn back around. Stop by and see your mom and dad and here them talk about the busy week they had.”

Generally speaking, Tony Brown was the weakest producer Yearwood every worked with.  Their strengths simply weren’t complementary.  But this record works, with its relentless groove and Yearwood’s casual performance creating one of her loosest sounding hits.

The Road From No. 1

Yearwood’s final solo No. 1 single to date is up next.

“Perfect Love” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Clint Black, “Nothin’ But the Taillights” |

Next: Jo Dee Messina, “Bye Bye”



  1. Three female number ones in a row?! Just when I thought I couldn’t love this late 1997/early 1998 period any more. :) I actually always thought 1998 was a great year for women in country, and this is early proof of that.

    “Perfect Love” has always been one of my favorite upbeat songs from Trisha! It’s just as joyful to hear today, and it still puts a smile on my face and makes me remember the great times from when it came out. The production is still very fresh and modern sounding to my ears, as well, and that opening guitar and drum beat still gets me pumped and excited. I also just love Trisha’s enthusiastic performance here, and she makes all of those everyday, mundane activities sound like truly exciting things to do together with her partner. I especially like how in the second verse, she manages to make “driving to the edge of town,” “stopping by to see mom and dad,” and “taking a walk beside the lake” sound like such a wonderful romantic day for the two of them. I think a lot of us would like to be in such a relationship, in which even doing little, simple things together become even more fun and romantic when they are done together with that special someone. I even love how she excitedly sings the song’s simple bridge that once again declares the “perfect love” between the two. Finally, I love those little cool steel guitar parts near the end of each verse and before the choruses.

    To me, this song also always sounded like something that could’ve been featured in one of those feel good late 90’s romantic comedy movies. In fact, I was just thinking that again just earlier the other day when it came on my ipod. This song also, once again, reminds me of one of the things I’ve always loved about late 90’s country: Much of the songs sound just as great in an urban, more contemporary setting as they do when you’re in the country. For instance, I’ve enjoyed this song while my parents and I were around the beautiful countryside in Pennsylvania AND while I’ve walked around Fair Oaks Mall, which is in the more urban, upscale area of Fairfax, VA. Songs like “Perfect Love” and many others from this late 90’s time period weren’t just songs for rednecks, people in the south, or in the country like the genre has tried so hard to be in more recent years. It was simply just great music that most people anywhere could relate to (or in the case of this song, want to relate to), and it just so happened to be country music. And what made it even more great is that it still managed to actually sound like country music while adding those pop sensibilities that gave it an even wider appeal.

    Speaking of movies, the first few times I heard “Perfect Love,” around early 1998, the title always reminded me of a part in the 1997 film, A Life Less Ordinary (starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz), in which Ewan McGregor’s character has a dream that he’s in a game show called Perfect Love, and he’s telling Cameron Diaz’s character, who he is slowly falling in love with, about it the next morning. My dad and I had seen that movie in the theater in the Fall of ’97, and it always stuck with me, especially that scene with the dream, as “Beyond The Sea” was playing. This song also takes me back to the times in early ’98 not long after my mom, step dad, and I saw Titanic. :)

    And yep, I’m afraid I’m not quite through mentioning the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA just yet, as this is yet another song that takes me back to when my parents and I were going there nearly every Sunday in late 1997 and early 1998. And yes, it’s another one that reminds me of my Diddy Kong Racing playing days during those times, as well. :) I was also in the 6th grade at that time and was doing the best I ever did grade wise in school, I had some of the coolest teachers I ever had, and I was making my parents proud. It’s still one of my most favorite school years that I look back extremely fondly on. This song just never fails to make me so happy and think of all those great times I had both in school and with my family. :)

    I also adore the video for “Perfect Love,” which continues the trend of ultra cool and fun videos from Trisha that started with “Believe Me Baby (I Lied).” Again, I really like how many country videos were fun and quirky during the mid-late 90’s, and this is another great example. As a lover of vintage stuff, it gets bonus points from me for its antique shop setting, which I’ve always loved, and I love all the cute, unique characters featured, especially the little kids acting like the little toys in the shop. Featuring Trisha’s then husband, Robert Reynolds of the Mavericks, was also a nice touch. Not to mention, Trisha herself seemed to be having a lot of fun making this one, and I love the joyful expressions on her face throughout!

    Unfortunately for us, “Perfect Love” is another song that followed the trend of late 90’s songs that didn’t get as much deserving recurrent airplay once their chart run was over. Even on Sirius radio around 2004 and 2005, it never got played nearly as much as the long overplayed “She’s In Love With The Boy” and “XXX’s and OOO’s.”

    On the other hand, there are actually quite a few of these late ’97/early ’98 singles that DID continue to get played steadily into the early 00’s or so and are still remembered well today like: Tim McGraw’s “Just To See You Smile,” Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing,” Collin Raye’s “Little Red Rodeo,” Clay Walker’s “Then What,” Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye Bye,” Clint Black’s “Nothin’ But The Taillights,” Faith Hill’s “This Kiss,” The Chicks’ “I Can Love You Better,” Tracy Byrd’s “I’m From The Country” (unfortunately), and Shania’s “You’re Still The One.”

    • 1998 set a record with 12 different female solo/lead singers earning a No. 1 in the same calendar year. Definitely the closest radio ever got to fully acknowledging that female artists were selling more records than their male counterparts. Significantly more.

          • Yes, the attacks helped fuel not only a (gradual) revival of all of that, but also an unfortunate rearing of the ugly head that is (rightly or wrongly) considered the over-the-top right-wing conservative politics of the country genre. And female artists like Trisha started taking it on the chin (IMHO).

          • I myself always considered 2004 to be when the genre officially went for the worse from there on out with the noticeable lack of women and mature songs and the machismo taking over with Toby Keith’s macho man drinking/patriotic songs, Kenny Chesney’s beach bum/frat boy songs, and Brad Paisley’s often unfunny and/or offensive novelties. Kevin is completely right, though, that after 9/11, everything started going downhill. And then the Chicks incident kicked the downhill slide into much higher gear. It’s still hard for me to believe just how abruptly the genre’s sound, lyrics, and attitude and its general listening audience changed in such a short period of time. It was enough to suddenly feel like I didn’t know or recognize my favorite genre in the mid 00’s anymore.

            As for Erik’s comment on over the top right wing politics, it immediately makes me think of the recent unfortunate transphopic comments I read from Aldean’s wife, with Aldean and Raelynn proudly endorsing. Seeing stuff like that come from those actually within mainstream country just makes me sick to my stomach. It would make ashamed to be a country fan if it weren’t for the fact that I never liked their music in the first place, and I don’t consider them MY kind of country, at least not the country I fell in love with as a kid in the 90’s. It does, however, make me hate the direction the genre has taken in the 21st century even more.

  2. I always thought it was sweet that Trisha described her then-husband Robert Reynolds as her “favourite Beatle” in the liner notes to her album “Everybody Knows.” It’s cute to see him in the video here. Since their divorce, The Mavericks later publicly shared Reynolds life went off the rails with an opiate addiction.

    Despite that sadness, this is a righteously uplifting and fun song. One of Yearwood’s best singles.

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