“One of These Days”
Written by Marcus Hummon, Monty Powell, and Kip Raines
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
May 29, 1998
Tim McGraw’s fourth consecutive No. 1 single is all self-flagellation and delayed salvation.
The Road to No. 1
Everywhere already produced three No. 1 hits with its first three singles: “It’s Your Love,” the title track, and “Just to See You Smile.” The fourth No. 1 single from the album is the only one to miss the top spot on the Billboard chart.
The No. 1
This was where I was supposed to write something about how this ballad was a step or two below the rest of the singles from Everywhere.
It’s funny how time changes your perception of things. In 1998, I would’ve written that this ballad tried a bit too hard and how “Holes in the Floor of Heaven” hit all the right emotional beats.
In 2022, I simply cannot believe that a mainstream country artist recorded this song, let alone had a No. 1 hit with it.
“One of These Days” is an exercise in self-loathing, as the narrator is completely candid about being a genuinely horrible person over the years. He mercilessly bullies a fellow student who ends up running away from home (“He was different. He wasn’t cool like me.”) He breaks the heart of a beautiful girl who truly loves him. (“At seventeen you only want one thing. I left her standing with my high school ring. Innocent tears in the pouring rain as I walked away.”)
He’s haunted by these ghosts of his past, showing up as the living embodiments of his guilty conscience. They persist in his memory, and deliver the same message: “One of these days you’re gonna love me. You’ll sit down by yourself and think” about “what good friends we might’ve been. Then you’re gonna sigh a little and maybe even cry a little.”
He’s processing all of these things as the preacher in his church is promising forgiveness, but he’s too filled with regret and shame to deem himself worthy of it. Instead, he allows himself a sliver of hope that “One of these days I’m gonna love me, and feel the joy of sweet release. One of these days I’ll rise above me, and at last I’ll find some peace.”
How he envisions that salvation is so desperately sad. “I’m gonna smile a little and maybe even laugh a little.” This is man in a very dark place who has not forgiven himself, but maybe he will someday.
It’s so much more powerful than being born again and giving yourself a clean slate, which can be a convenient way to evade accountability for the damage you’ve done up until that point.
And this is one of his lesser singles from this album? Damn.
The Road From No. 1
Another stone cold classic is up next from Everywhere. We’ll get to it very soon, as we are now in the era of very long Billboard No. 1 runs.
“One of These Days” gets an A.
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