This would fit well on one of our questionnaires – I think we’ve already done favorite songs by least favorites artists, in fact – but it’s not time for another questionnaire yet and I’m interested in doing this one today. So here we are.
I don’t give a hoot for fans who think their favorite artists are beyond reproach. To my mind, the ability to find fault (or at least acknowledge the possibility that fault might reasonably be found) with our favorite artists is a sign of character. That’s why I like positive reviews that include negative points and vice versa – maybe the most provocative arguments come from either end, but the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.
It’s in that spirit that I name my least favorite song by my favorite artist. My favorite artist – admittedly a choice based more in sentiment than in my current listening habits – is Randy Travis. And “I’ll Be Right Here Loving You,” a song written by Jeffrey Steele and T.W. Hale and recorded for Travis’ 1999 album A Man Ain’t Made of Stone, is utterly grating. The spoken verses disjointedly list a bunch of worldly complications and concerns, then the choruses try to set things right by proclaiming that “As long as this world’s spinning, like it’s supposed to do/I’ll be right here loving you.” But little does Travis know that the lady has probably already skipped to the next track by the time the chorus arrives to assuage her fears, so obnoxious are those verses. Here, have a taste:
Skepticism, new vision, down with the old tradition
A lot of people making catastrophic predictions
Did Steele and Hale just string together a bunch of words from the glossary of a social studies book? How can a song this drab get recorded twice in the span of a couple years (Rhett Akins had it on his 1998 album too) as better material languishes in obscurity? Could it have happened at any time other than the end of the ’90s, when the approach of a new millennium set doomsday prophesying to a fever pitch? Why, Randy? Why?
The Travis partisan in me must mention that although A Man Ain’t Made of Stone is almost undoubtedly his worst overall album, those scared off by the atrocious “I’ll Be Right Here Loving You” will miss worthwhile tracks like “A Man Ain’t Made of Stone,” “A Heartache in the Works” (Chet Biggers/Melba Montgomery), “Once You’ve Heard the Truth” (Leslie Satcher/Chuck Jones) and “Day One” (Jimmy Yeary/Max D. Barnes). So I wouldn’t necessarily skip the whole thing. Just be sure to skip track 8.
The question(s) of the day:
What’s your least favorite song by your favorite artist? And why?