Alan Jackson — “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

Juli Thanki | January 18th, 2012

alanjacksonSongwriters: Jay Knowles and Adam Wright

After lackluster songs like “It’s Just That Way” and “I Still Like Bologna,” it’s nice to have Alan Jackson paired up with top notch material once more. “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore,” his best single in at least half a decade, finds him willfully shouldering all the blame for a love that’s grown cold: “I’ll be the S.O.B./If that’s what you need me to be/So you don’t have to love me anymore.”

The song starts simply with piano and acoustic guitar before building to a climax that uses country radio’s weekly allotment of pedal steel. Jackson’s warm baritone wraps around the arrangement like a wool coat as he sings “I will keep all those memories of the good times…so when you think of you and me, they won’t even cross your mind.” In the hands of a lesser artist, Knowles and Wright’s (the pair also wrote “Tail Lights Blue,” which can be found on Freight Train) lyrics like “If you need me to make you cry/I don’t want to, but I’ll try” might sound as though the singer is melodramatically playing the martyr, but Jackson’s straightforward and unadorned approach makes plain that it’s a necessary, if heartbreaking, split for both parties in the relationship. It’s arguably his strongest vocal performance on a single since the equally stellar ballad “Monday Morning Church.” If “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is evidence of the strength of material to be found on Jackson’s next album, it can’t be released soon enough.

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  1. Karlie
    January 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Alan’s got a bit of scruff going on in this video!

    Good connection to Monday Morning Church, although I think this one’s a bit thinner. Still quite lovely, and it’ll be interesting to see how it does on radio.

    On a random note – if I could only listen to one singer the rest of my life, it’d be a tie between Alan and George.

  2. Ben Foster
    January 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    “…before building to a climax that uses country radio’s weekly allotment of pedal steel.”

    Ha! Loved this.

    I agree with every word of the review. It’s so refreshing to hear Jackson once again paired with a song worthy of his talents.

  3. Occasional Hope
    January 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    An excellent song, and a real return to form from Alan.

  4. Richard
    January 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Beautiful song. I wouldn’t call it his best in at least half a decade though. I’m thinking of “Small Town Southern Man” and “Sissy’s Song,” two of Jackson’s best singles in my opinion. But damn, this one’s GOOD.

  5. C.M. Wilcox
    January 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I agree with Richard on “Small Town Southern Man” and “Sissy’s Song” also deserving consideration, but either way, this definitely sounds like classic Alan Jackson. I hope it fares well at radio.

  6. Bobby Peacock
    January 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Small Town Southern Man is easily the best thing he put out in the late 2000s.

    My only problem with Monday Morning Church is that Alan and Patty didn’t blend vocally AT ALL. Patty overpowered Alan about half the time.

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