Darius Rucker – “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”
Songwriters: Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley, and Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker’s second country single, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” exhibits a few flaws, but one of the main knocks against it is one that mars his album, Learn To Live: it’s lack of originality. The song revolves around specific moments between a father and his daughter as she grows up. If it sounds familiar, Trace Adkins topped the charts earlier this year with “You’re Gonna Miss This,” a song with a very similar theme. And it may not be such a coincidence that they’re so similar, considering Ashley Gorley brought the original idea to the table and co-wrote both songs.
The lyric itself is too straightforward to carry much emotional resonance despite Rucker’s best efforts. If we isolate the hook, “It Won’t be like this for long,” it carries no weight, and in context, it does little more than to tell us that times will change. In fact, half of the chorus is dedicated to pounding that message home, with the hook repeated at the beginning and end, and this line sandwiched in between, “This phase is gonna fly by.” It’s cliche, not worded elegantly, and forces any meaning to be supplied by the listener.
Left open to interpretation, it seems like the narrator is emotionally inept and put off about having to deal with his daughter’s antics presented in the scenarios in the first and second verses, before finally letting us know that he doesn’t mind and is trying to enjoy the time while he has it at the end of the song. It comes too late and doesn’t pack enough of a punch to supply the rest of the song with the weight it’s reaching for. If the intention of the song is to say, “cherish the memories while they last”–another cliche–it doesn’t exactly achieve that goal.
While all this is going on, the time line is yanked around like such a concept doesn’t exist. The second verse starts, “Four years later ’bout four thirty/She’s crawling in their bed/And when he drops her off at preschool/She’s clinging to his leg,” and continues with the preschool storyline. The time line is fast-forwarded four years to four thirty in the morning, then suddenly jumps to the father dropping the daughter off at preschool. The first half of the first line serves a purpose, but that business about her crawling into their bed is pointless.
Then, the third verse starts, “Someday soon, she’ll be a teenager/And at times, he’ll think she hates him/And he’ll walk her down the aisle/And raise her vail/But right now, she’s up and cryin’.” Three different scenarios are crammed into five lines–the first two scenarios serving as well-worn cliches–and nothing of any significance is said.
Rucker does a commendable job of mastering his performance, taking complete control of the song, and the production is pleasant, but neither do enough to make up for the lack of originality and insight.
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