Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Faith Hill, “Let Me Let Go”

“Let Me Let Go”

Faith Hill

Written by  Steve Diamond and Dennis Morgan

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

December 12, 1998

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

November 27 – December 4, 1998

Faith Hill completes a run of five consecutive No. 1 singles by female artists.

The Road to No. 1

Faith is the second album from Faith Hill to produce three No. 1 hits.  “Let Me Let Go” was preceded at the top by “This Kiss” and “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me.”

The No. 1

Because it was remixed for pop radio and international markets, it’s easy to overlook that in its original form, “Let Me Let Go” was a pretty traditional country record.

It’s awash in steel guitar and has lonesome harmonies provided by Vince Gill.  With her lead vocal, Hill showcases Reba’s influence on her vocal style, a sound that harkens back to Hill’s earliest singles.  There just isn’t much song here.  The lyrics are repetitive and the verses are too short.

What makes it work is the performance and the arrangement, which is why it struggled when it was stripped of its country instrumentation and Gill’s harmony vocal.  Hill would find the secret sauce for the perfect pop country ballad soon enough, but stick to the original version of “Let Me Let Go” if you want to hear it in its finest form.

The Road From No. 1

Faith finished its run in 1999 with the top fifteen hit “Love Ain’t Like That” and the top five Gretchen Peters cover, “The Secret of Life.”   We’ll see Hill again later that year with the final No. 1 single of the nineties.

“Let Me Let Go” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Lee Ann Womack, “A Little Past Little Rock” |

Next: Ty Herndon, “It Must Be Love”

 

8 Comments

  1. I always liked this song but felt it was missing something.

    Side note, interesting to see five female acts in a row top the charts. That never happens nowadays, which is disappointing to say the least.

    1
      • Carrie had 5 number ones in a row on both charts Wasted, So Small, All American Girl, Last Name, and Just A Dream. I was a kid in the 90s and always loved Faith but it wasn’t until I got Spotify and took a deep dive into her discography that I discovered just how great of an artist she was.

    • Seeing five female number ones in a row just gives me one more reason to love country music in 1998 and the late 90’s in general, as if I needed any more reasons. :)

      Sadly, it’s a time period that was way too short lived before the genre became much more male dominated once again by 2003. And what’s even more sad is it only got worse from there, and I still certainly don’t see anything like it happening again anytime soon in this day and age. :(

  2. I love the original version of this song and wish Faith and Vince would perform it together live now. I’ve never liked the pop and international remixes – though I will say she killed her performance of this song at the 2000 Grammys on what I believe was the David Foster mix.

  3. I absolutely loved this song throughout the Fall of 1998 and into the Winter of early 1999, and it’s still one of my personal favorite Faith Hill songs of all time!

    I actually never knew this song was also used as a crossover attempt (other than “This Kiss” from this album), so I never even heard any of the pop/AC remixes. I definitely can’t imagine this song without Paul Franklin’s steel or Vince’s harmonies on it, and to me it would feel a bit “naked” without either of them. For me, the original country version is the perfect mix of Faith’s previous neo-traditional style and the pop crossover Faith that was emerging during this time. Like the previous single, “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me,” there’s a certain elegant charm about it, and it’s totally a breath of fresh air when compared to much of mainstream country from the past decade and a half. Even Paul Franklin’s steel guitar playing on many late 90’s cuts had a classy feel to it, and it just fits this song like a glove. I especially love his beautiful little solo in the beginning, which I believe was cut out when played on the radio (in my area, at least). I also love the main melody that kicks in after the steel solo, as well as the overall laid back acoustic arrangement. Even the swelling strings in the bridge are beautifully done. Vince’s backup vocals sound more smooth than usual on this record, as well. This is simply contemporary country perfection, to my ears! Again, I just miss this kind of classy country so much!

    This is also one of my personal favorite performances from Faith, and once again, I love how there still a little bit of that twang in her voice from her earlier records before she’d go full pop crossover diva on the next album. I love the desperation and frustration in her performance throughout of not being able to get on with her life and let go of the memory, and perhaps some feelings still, for her past love. I especially love how she belts out the final chorus after the bridge where all of her sadness and frustration is truly coming out, with Vince’s harmonies also really adding to the emotional moment. Even the soft, pleading, and defeated way she sings the final “Let me let gooooo” at the end is gorgeous, and it’s a perfect ending to the record, imo.

    I personally think it says enough lyrically, and it’s enough to get the point across and make it another great song about not being able to forget about and/or move on from a past relationship (There seemed to be quite a few of these during this late 1998/early 1999 period). I’ve especially always liked how the lines “It just isn’t right. I’ve been two thousand miles down a dead end road” were added to the second and third choruses, and those lines are an effective way of saying that while her former lover has had no problems moving on, she’s been stuck at square one since after they both said goodbye. I’ve always loved the bridge that mentions the city lights shining, as well, because it always painted a pretty picture in my mind of the city at night. I also picture a lonely Faith Hill walking down the city streets with the lights shining all around, but she’s too distracted by the memory of her ex to notice or appreciate them.

    The video is another one I always enjoyed seeing on GAC when it was new, and once again she is absolutely gorgeous in it! I especially love her red top, and again, I love the short haircut she had during this time period. While the video itself is pretty simple and features not much more than Faith roaming around the same room, it’s actually quite effective, and it provides nice symbolism of Faith’s character being stuck in one place and not being able to “let go.” I also love the contemporary style of the room, especially the furniture and lamps, which match the contemporary feel of the song nicely.

    The first time I ever heard “Let Me Let Go” was early in the Fall of 1998 while I was recording it on to the first tape I did during my 7th grade year. As I mentioned in The Wilkinsons’ “26 Cents,” I was actually recording this tape from the radio while my mom was giving my dad a haircut in the backyard, lol. This was one of those times I took a chance on recording a new song, despite being familiar with it yet, and man did it pay off! I remember instantly falling in love with it while I was recording it and thinking it was a perfect “Fall song.” I also loved Faith’s singing on it and the overall smooth, melodic style of the song. And also like The Wilkinsons’ song, it reminds me of when mom, dad, and I went to Olive Garden later that evening, and I tried (and loved) the lasagna there for the first time. I was really enjoying this song on the tape on my Walkman both before arriving at Olive Garden and after leaving the restaurant, and even today, I still tend to think of our local Olive Garden whenever I hear this song. And of course, it also reminds me of the many following dinners at Olive Garden that my parents and I had after that in late 1998 and early 1999. And yes, “Let Me Let Go” was one of the songs on the tape I just played over and over all throughout that same period. :)

    “Let Me Let Go” also brings back great memories of when my parents and I all saw the movie Mighty Joe Young (starring Charlize Theron and Bill Paxton) later that December. Admittedly, I had a bit of a crush on Faith Hill around that time, and Charlize Theron in the movie also reminded me of Faith, especially since she was also tall, blonde, and had a short haircut at the time, as well. And yeah, I also ended up having a crush on Charlize after seeing that movie, lol.

    “Let Me Let Go” was still a big favorite of mine well into early 1999, despite “Love Ain’t Like That” being out on the radio by then. It was even still going through my head during some of my 7th grade classes, specifically one afternoon during my cooking class. Coincidentally, her husband’s then latest single, “For A Little While,” also went through my head during the same class on another day, lol.

    Unfortunately, “Let Me Let Go” was one that stayed consistent with the trend of many late 90’s country songs being seemingly dropped from radio once it got to around 2003-2004, as the classy, smooth style of the late 90’s was being replaced by songs with a more aggressive sound and attitude and the genre slowly started embracing the negative redneck/hillbilly stereotypes it worked so hard to shake not so long ago. The independent station around our area was one of the only places we could still hear it, though its signal had weakened significantly by then. I do recall maybe hearing it once or twice during the brief period my dad has Sirius in his car from 2004-2005, but definitely nowhere nearly enough as I’d liked. Instead, they mostly played the heck out of “Wild One,” which I’d already heard a million times by then.

    I also really love the final single from this album, “The Secret Of Life,” and wish it was also a number one. I remember hearing it for the first time in the car with my mom one afternoon as we were passing by my middle school. This was not long after my dad, step dad, and I were watching the 1999 ACM awards and we saw Faith introducing her husband Tim McGraw before he performed “Please Remember Me.” That song also reminds me of great times with my step dad throughout the Spring and Summer of 1999. Plus, I always enjoyed seeing the video on GAC around that time. :)

    Btw, I always thought this pic of Faith sitting on the green couch dressed in all white with her sneakers untied was so cute! Also I LOVE the single cover for this song!

  4. I don’t know if Hill has ever sounded better then she does here. “Let Me Let Go” is a stunning showcase for Hill’s vocals. I love this song.

  5. …”there just isn’t much song here”, so funny and so true. still, i didn’t really notice it ’till it was pointed out. what a great voice and a fine melody can do.

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  1. ≫ Faith Hill, “Déjame dejar ir” – Country Universe

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