“Wish You Were Here”
Written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
November 6, 1981
Barbara Mandrell earns another No. 1 single from her gold-selling album, which topped the R&R Chart shortly after she became the first artist in history two win the CMA Entertainer of the Year award twice.
“Wish You Were Here” is an inexplicably jaunty tune about a woman being alone on vacation, unable to fully enjoy herself because her lost love isn’t by her side. The song meanders along with a midtempo beat, and Mandrell does far too little with the melody to make the song memorable.
“Wish You Were Here” is neither here nor there. The country instrumentation isn’t prominent enough to make it fully work as a country song, and there isn’t a strong enough melodic hook to make it work as a pop song.
It speaks to what the real problem is when Nashville players without pop sensibilities try to cross over: they know how to downplay the country elements from a record, but they don’t know how to effectively incorporate pop elements in their place.
So you’re left with a record that feels improperly mixed, with the canned applause track drowning out the decent steel guitar licks. Competent production? Wish you were here.
“Wish You Were Here” gets a C.
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