Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Gretchen Wilson – I’d Love to Be Your Last

Our first spin with her, oddly…


Chuck Eddy: I like how this sounds not remotely country; comes off more like an old-school, more R&B than C&W-based, adult contemporary ballad, circa 20 years ago. Like, say, Vanessa Williams or somebody might do. Refreshing, rather lovely, and not at all what I’d expect of Gretchen, who has often over the years made me wonder why she does ballads at all.

Pete Baran: In the opening seconds I doff my cap to the minstrels who welcome me to Gretchen’s simple manor house. But sadly it shifts from being an intriguing fusion between a 13th century courtly love ballad and a country song, to just a quite dull ballad. It seems heartfelt, but an alternative reading of the chorus suggests she wants to kill her lover. So medieval enough, then!

Martin Skidmore: Her career has rather sagged after a strong start. This is a slow, sensitive ballad, and while I think she’s best when she’s being ballsy, I rather like her restrained delivery of this, over acoustic guitar and strings, and it’s a very pretty song.

Michaelangelo Matos: Nice to hear her essay a real ballad; “When I Think About Cheatin'” was my second-favorite on her debut. The arrangement is so bare that her voice can dominate it without raising above a whisper. The song, alas, isn’t up to the performance.

Anthony Easton: Clay Walker has made a career of slightly chiding anthems against sex in favour of a mooning monogamy. I believed it when he sang this. Gretchen Wilson is a belter of hard edged party songs. This one is just a little too careerist for me to buy her doing it.

Alfred Soto: Affecting in its tentativeness, this ballad represents a break from Wilson’s string of barnstormers. She doesn’t quite transcend these origins, although her breathy, unsure singing comes close. I’d love this to be her first.

Katherine St Asaph: There’s plenty affecting here: how rickety the guitar strumming is, how Wilson’s brassy voice becomes tentative in miniature, the relative complexity of the narrative — layered a bit more once you realize this is a cover that isn’t completely gender-swapped — the cellos. Any one of these things might’ve been the one to grab me; I suspect I’ll need many more listens to narrow down which.

Zach Lyon: I guess there’s some interesting stuff to talk about here: it sort of genderfucks a Clay Walker song, insofar that it seems more about deflowering a boy than deflowering a girl, which is something rare; it sounds musically like it’s tailored for wedding receptions when it’s all about premarital sex; there’s probably some other stuff but I was originally inclined to just leave my score and “this makes me cry too much.” That isn’t a common thing and maybe I’m alone in it. But I love the way her voice enters just a biting, unsung yelp in “I don’t care if I’m your first love,” making it sound like she’s struggling to convince him of this after a long prior discussion we haven’t heard (compare to Eric Church doing the same, just with reprehension), and the way the middle eight leads to a final verse that’s packed with relief and finality.

Iain Mew: It’s interesting how she sings “I’ve never been too big on looking back” but spends a large part of the song doing just that. She’s realised that she has to finally come to peace with how things haven’t gone perfectly in order to throw herself fully into her relationship now — and does so despite it not being completely clear that her partner reciprocates. The title line is a clever and beautiful sentiment and it’s delivered with a really light and deft touch, conveying the blooming of something wonderful but still a little uncertain.

Jonathan Bogart: It’s very rare that I find song with a tempo this slow this affecting. Sure, it can double as a lullaby, but its stillness exudes such confidence and poetry that it’s pretty hard not to love, try as I might.

One Response to “Gretchen Wilson – I’d Love to Be Your Last”

  1. I don’t dislike country, I just dislike uninteresting songs.