Earl Thomas Conley
Written by Charlie Black, Austin Roberts, and Tommy Rocco
#1 (1 week)
April 13, 1985
Earl Thomas Conley’s ability to write and to select sophisticated material helped him to stand out among his peers, and “Honor Bound” is one of the best songs yet that he’s taken to the top.
Conley gravitated toward empathetic songs which sidestep blame and focus on the human impact when a love falls apart. On “Honor Bound,” he’s fully aware that his partner is staying with him out of a sense of responsibility, as her love is now gone. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, he feels sorry for her and disapp0inted in himself for still holding on to her.
It’s a powerful song that he sings beautifully, especially on the verses. Unfortunately, a bombastic production kicks in for the chorus, requiring him to deliver overpowered vocals to be heard over the din of noise. It’s so jarring a transition that it reminded me of the days before DVR and streaming, when commercials would be played at louder volume than the television show you tuned in for.
The song itself is so good that I still recommend it wholeheartedly. But it would’ve been an all-timer if the producer had shown some restraint.
“Honor Bound” gets a B.
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