Gary Allan – “Today”
So you’re in your car, bopping along to the radio when suddenly, the Tinkly Piano of Deep Sadness fills your eardrums with a riff you’ve doubtlessly heard in a dozen other ballads. Don’t let the sterile intro fool you; it’s the newest offering from the pretty reliable Gary Allan, which means it’s going to get better once he starts singing, right?
“Today” has Allan doing what he does best: regret and despair, topped off with a dash of self-loathing. Lyrically, it’s somewhat similar to “Songs About Rain,” what with the narrator ruing his life choices on the day the girl of his dreams marries another. However, despite Allan’s substantial effort, this single falls far short of “Rain,” not to mention paling in comparison to the majority of his other previous singles (except you, “Tough Little Boys”).
The slick production and boring arrangement leave something to be desired, especially as the song’s second half gets unnecessarily bombastic with a combination of overwrought strings and a generic guitar solo that’s at odds with Allan’s voice as well as his less polished past work. Luckily Allan’s beautiful rasp rises above these shortcomings as he manages to simultaneously sound brokenhearted, regretful, and maybe just a little pissed off: at himself, the world, and his traitorous tear ducts as he sings “Today is the happiest day of her life/I should be happy for her/Today/So tell me why are these tears in my eyes?” Um, maybe because you’re singing these lyrics?
Overall, “Today” is a decent single thanks entirely to Gary Allan’s delivery; every other element of this song is average at best. A strong, unique voice can absolve a multitude of sins, including weak lyrics and an arrangement seemingly cooked up in some laboratory, but Allan is deserving of far better material with which to work. It may be the lead single from his to-be-released eighth album, but let’s hope that “Today” isn’t representative of that record’s production. Allan sounds best served up raw.
Listen: Gary Allan – “Today”
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