Gary Allan – “Today”

Juli Thanki | July 20th, 2009

gary-allan-todaySo 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.

Thumbs Up

  1. Leeann Ward
    July 20, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Juli, A very fair review. I think his vocals save the song, but it’s very unfortunate that he’s singing a song that’s in need of such heroic measures. It’s not one that’s going to make into my Gary Allan rotation for sure.

  2. Nicolas
    July 20, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I didn’t like this song when I first heard it…

  3. Chris D.
    July 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I’ve only heard the last minute or so, it didn’t impress me.

  4. Vicki
    July 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    OMG! You are so right. This is my first disappointment with Gary. His voice is right there but it’s like drastically wrong music behind the voice.

  5. Stormy
    July 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Part of what made Songs About Rain so great was the Thumping-Honkey-Tonk-Piano-Of-Drunken-Regrets.

  6. Steve Harvey
    July 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Stormy,

    Damn straight – the piano makes that song!

  7. Lucas
    July 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Gary Allan is ten bazillion times better than this song. That’s right, bazillion.

  8. Steve Harvey
    July 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    The title makes me thing of an older Allan song that goes:

    Memories may find me,
    but they’ll always be behind me
    I’ll take today over yesterday
    any day

    That song is better than this song.

  9. Todd
    July 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    “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,””

    Spot on analysis Juli, I also thought this song was similar lyrically to “Rain” but it fell well short by comparison mainly due to some production choices. That being said I think “Today” is a solid song just not a great one like “Rain” was

  10. Trailer
    July 20, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    We are of the same mind on this song. Nice review (and not just because we agree).

  11. Leeann Ward
    July 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Well,personally, it’s why I think it’s a nice review.

  12. Fake Wesley Rose
    July 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    (sigh)
    Real country music fans on this site…thank the lord

  13. Noeller
    July 21, 2009 at 12:03 am

    This song is a perfect example of how over-production can single-handedly ruin a song. Just because the Taylor’s/Rascals/Kenny’s of the world need the production to over-compensate for their short comings, with Gary, a stripped down, raw sound will showcase the talent by allowing it to shine through.

    Damn studio…

  14. Steve Harvey
    July 21, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I’ve listened to this a few more times.

    Two main thoughts:

    Boy does this production suck.

    Dear lord, that’s a sensational vocal performance. He’s on a level so far above almost every other country singer working today it’s not even funny.

  15. Joy
    July 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I love this song, Gary is def. the most awesome voice in country music today

  16. nm
    July 21, 2009 at 10:01 am

    “Tinkly Piano of Deep Sadness” would be a great album title, though.

  17. Dave W.
    July 21, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I agree with a lot of the criticism of this song by previous posters here but I still like this song overall. A great ballad about regret and heartbreak. Original title. Very emotional.

  18. Steve Harvey
    July 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Original title?

    A 5 second google search reveals songs of the same name by The Smashing Pumpkins, Zero 7, Joshua Radin, Musiq Soulchild, Jefferson Airplane, Melanie B, Poe, Jesse Clegg, The New Christy Minstrels, Sandie Shaw and Talk Talk.

  19. Leeann Ward
    July 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I, personally, really like John Denver’s “Today.”

  20. ROGERW
    July 22, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Juli, your review is dead on accurate. It’s just over produced and not gritty enough for Gary. His voice and delivery are far and away the best thing about it, but it just doesn’t have that “Gary Allan” feel to it. I’ll still keep my hopes up for the album.

  21. Robert
    July 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Dude….seriously man. i am getting so frustrated reading your reviews. There was a time i highly valued your opinion, and i still do to a degree, but to not recognize the power of a song like this is awful. I don’t care if the lyrics said lol the entire time, gary allans voice alone could carry this tune. He’s so expressive when he sings, so emotional. It’s heartwrenching to listen to. The lyrics in this song are not the best ever written, but then again when will there be the best song ever written??? This is an above average lyric, with an above average melody that ties the whole thing together. WAY TO GO GARY

  22. Tammy R.
    July 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Gary could sing the phone book and make you feel the song. He has that power! I just don’t understand why he has never won a CMA award. No other artist can touch him. Can’t wait for the CD to come out!

  23. Steve Harvey
    July 26, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Robert, I don’t think you actually disagree with the review – great vocals, not so great song. That’s what the review said, that’s what you said.

  24. Jon
    July 27, 2009 at 7:50 am

    “Robert, I don’t think you actually disagree with the review – great vocals, not so great song. That’s what the review said, that’s what you said.”

    Review: Every element other than Allan’s delivery “is average at best”; the song has “weak lyrics.”

    Robert: “Above average lyric…above average melody.”

    Looks like a disagreement to me.

  25. Robert
    July 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    exactly Jon. I do not think this song deserves the criticism it got. The strings and the piano are dripping with emotion. I don’t know where you’re going to find a better song about this topic than this. Gary Allan absolutely owns emotive edgy country, and this song continues the pattern of greatness

  26. Kathy
    July 30, 2009 at 2:22 am

    I recently discovered Gary Allan by hearing this song. I was so impressed with the emotion of it that I want to hear more of him. I agree with Robert that this song does not deserve all the criticism. I loved it!

  27. Robert
    July 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    i definitely recommend his living hard album, especially we touched the sun and learning how to bend. his all time best songs have to be the one, songs about rain, tough little boys, and his cover of best i ever had, along with life ain’t always beautiful. all of those songs deliver the same passion, hurt, and love as this one does. good luck!

  28. michelle
    August 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    love it and love him

  29. Betty
    August 21, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Wow…I can’t believe the criticism on this song. The words are emotional and beautiful and Gary’s deliverance of them are perfection.. I agree with Robert on everything he said. And Tammy, I could also listen to him sing the phone book..LOL..BTW Steve, I loved your comment “Dear lord, that’s a sensational vocal performance. He’s on a level so far above almost every other country singer working today it’s not even funny”. Gary Allan is the BEST!! ROCK ON GFA!

  30. Sharon
    August 31, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    I think Gary hit it right on the nose with this song. Gary is a great song writer nd singer he is also tall dark, mysterious and Gorgeous all of his music is wonderful.

  31. shannon
    September 18, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Robert, while Living Hard is a great album, i would recommend her listen to Tough All Over for that really emotional, heart wrenching, pure Gary Allan.

  32. Robert
    September 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Shannon: can’t argue with that!! i was just in love with that album at the moment, but Tough All Over is equally as fabulous. It’s definitely more heart wrenching, while Living Hard is a more edgy, frustrated view of life!! I think that any GA album you pick up will convert you! So just walk into the store and close your eyes and pick one!

  33. Rita
    September 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I grew up on rock n roll. Beatles, Beach Boys, Eagles, Jackson Browne, ZZTop, Stones,etc… I didn’t even know who Gary Allan was till this year (2009). Gary is Oh My Gosh AMAZING !! You can listen to his music and transcend into a place of beauty. So if you critics don’t like this one song, keep flippin through his songs and you too will be amazed by this mans endless talent. His fans KNOW he is the TOP country talent, also blending into rock.

  34. Tom
    September 21, 2009 at 5:34 am

    the review is right on target – generic bombast.
    freddie mercury would give him a big hand from up there and i turn my radio up and just enjoy it. mediocre song but terrific music.

  35. tonya
    September 26, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    how could you not love this the raw emotion alone what a beautiful voice he has i love it !!

  36. aww!
    October 2, 2009 at 9:08 am

    i love this song it reminds me of my highschool love. i miss him so much =(

  37. Susan
    October 8, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Charisma and vocal ability are two attributes Gary Allan has never run short of. That being said – the songs Allan has recorded and his label has released as singles over the last few years are shortchanging the fans. Allan has so much more to offer listeners.

  38. VICKY POTTER
    November 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

    GARY ALLAN COULD NEVER SING A BAD SONG. I GOT TO SEE HIM IN CONCERT IN LEWISBURG, WV AND HE WAS THE GREATEST. AS FOR HIS MUSIC BEING BORING YOU PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD SONG IF IT BIT U ON THE ASS. I SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION MYSELF AND THERE’S NOTHING BETTER FOR ME THAN TO LISTEN TO GARY. AND HE IS THE SEXIEST MAN NOT ONLY IN COUNTRY MUSIC BUT IN THE WORLD. I VOTED FOR HIM DAILY AND COULDN’T BELIEVE HE DIDNT WIN.

  39. Jessica
    November 17, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Wow.

    Well it is pretty obvious half of these people arent HIGHWAY JUNKIES

    we personally love “the guys” in this band and I would think I could speak for them when I say we love the guitar solos, piano, and fiddle, in EVERY song because it reminds us of a live show and who is playing those instruments. Gary does NOT get the recognition he deserves and it is pretty annoying. You want gritty well the gritty stuff of his doesnt get played on country radio since he is so in between forgive him for trying to put something out there for more people to hear.

    Today is climbing the charts @ # 24 so enough people must agree with the people who love his music no matter what it is.

    Thank you jesus for CMT playing Gary’s videos and Kenny Chesney having him on tour with him. LOVE YOU GARY.

  40. Doris Collins
    December 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I love Gary’s new song Today and can’t wait for the
    album, have all his music, he never disappoints as
    all his fans know and continue to go to all the concerts they can make it too! Just give me Gary in
    that Black Cowboy Hat! ENOUGH SAID!!!

  41. Jon G.
    December 25, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Juli, I agree 100% with everything you said, except I would’ve have given it a “Thumbs Down” for the exact same reasons.

  42. kelsea
    January 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    i love it has raw emtion and he has a beautiful voice and knows how to use it..and i so so love it.. and hes amazing in concert.

  43. shawn
    January 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    i agree with Robert. great song!!!!!!!!! could anybody email me the sheet music for the piano? if possible, could u also email me the music (piano) for “rain”?

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