He needs more than a kiss.
Anthony Easton: “Take off your leaving dress” is such an awkward formation, that it might actually convince me to stay. I am also amused that he thinks begging for one night, will result in the complete reforming of a toxic realtionship–but he sells it, and the audience must believe some of it.
Jonathan Bogart: The title’s a great phrase, but I’m not sure he lives up to it. There’s a complexity of emotion to the lyric which his still relatively hammy phrasing doesn’t do justice to; and then the straight-ahead rise and fall of the music keeps the storyline static. His soap-opera videos can only carry so much narrative weight.
Alfred Soto: Luke Bryan sports Randy Travis’ nasality but not his buttery baritone. I’d like to claim Travis picked better songs but it’s not quite accurate; lots of schlock in them there hills. Bryan does okay until the instrumental bludgeoning that occurs in the last third.
Katherine St Asaph: “Love me like you loved me when you loved me” is a great, nuanced line. Luke Bryan doesn’t get nuance. Otherwise he’d realize that “take off your leaving dress” kind of is asking her to stay.
Brad Shoup: Just like that river, I’ve found that every time I step into this song it’s different. Sometimes the phrase “leavin’ dress” puzzles. Sometimes the fuck-for-old-times’-sake transmits a sliver of plausibility. The constant is the brevity of the verses: two lines, then on to a theatrical presentation of resigned screwing, while the band lays back on a Gin Blossoms impression. I’m absolutely surprised that I want to hear this on the radio.
Edward Okulicz: Luke Bryan seems to sing this song as if he has no idea what any of it means. You can’t ask someone to love you like when they didn’t have to try, because if you have to ask them to do something different, that’s trying. You can’t make a request like that and sing it like you’re just asking the girl to jump in your truck to go make out while watching a sunset or something. And one can’t just say that this song is about the conflicted pleasures of intimacy with a departing lover, because the bits that deal with that are just as lyrically clumsy as the song is emotionally.