Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Mark Wills, “Wish You Were Here”

“Wish You Were Here”

Mark Wills

Written by Bill Anderson, Skip Ewing, and Debbie Moore

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

May 8, 1999

Radio & Records

#1 (3 weeks)

April 23 -May 7, 1999

Mark Wills sings about a postcard from beyond the grave.

The Road to No. 1

The title track from Wish You Were Here was the album’s third consecutive No. 1 single, following “I Do [Cherish You]” and “Don’t Laugh at Me.”

The No. 1

We’re in the “songwriters cribbing from e-mail forwards” era of country music.

This isn’t even the worst example that went to No. 1.  We’ll cover that John Michael Montgomery hit down the road.

But it’s still plain awful, somehow taking a somewhat funny joke and turning it into a morbid, maudlin ballad about a grieving widow receiving a postcard from her husband after his plane goes down.

The record is slow and plodding, with Wills sounding like he’s in a comatose state through most of it.

I’d add some of it’s redeeming qualities to balance out this review if I could just identify any.

The Road From No. 1

Mark Wills had another top ten hit from Wish You Were Here: “She’s in Love.”  He followed up this platinum album with the gold-selling Permanently, which featured his last hit of the decade: the top five “Back at One.”  Wills will appear again when we get to the 2000s.

“Wish You Were Here” gets an F.

 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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1 Comment

  1. There are tear-jerkers, then there are just manipulative messes like this. The opening line about kissing goodbye at the terminal gate is pretty awful.

    The set-up is so slow and obvious. Maybe the only way to sell this song about heaven would be to sing the high-hell out of it and bombastically produce it within an inch of its life, give it the full Conway Twitty treatment.

    Instead, we get Wills singing as though he has an enthusiasm-governor installed on his vocal chords. He sounds unconvincing describing either a tropical or a celestial heaven. He inexplicably sounds bored and I don’t want to visit either place.

    Hard to believe Bill Anderson and Skip Ewing both had a hand in this.

    Then again, its songs exactly like this that make people not like Skip Ewing’s writing.

    Bill Anderson should know better.

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