Toby Keith – “She Never Cried In Front Of Me”
Songwriters: Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson
After the clunker that was “She’s A Hottie,” Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson hook up again to bring us the first single, “She Never Cried In Front Of Me,” from Keith’s next album. While it’s not nearly as melodramatic as “It’s Not Supposed To Go Like That,” a song Pinson co-wrote on Rascal Flatts’ latest album, its attempts to convey emotion are juvenile and anything but subtle.
The important revelation in the first verse is that a tear rolled down the bride’s face. Apparently tears are the only way that the narrator can perceive emotion in others, since he wasn’t capable of realizing that he put his ex through hell when they were together or that anything was ever wrong because he never saw her cry. If it takes a tear to open his eyes, then he’s pretty much hopeless.
Apart from the shifts in perspective and changes in tense, the major problem with this song is that the lyric fleshes out too many irrelevant details that end up creating all sorts of logical fallacies. We don’t need to know that it’s 7:35 unless it’s meant to signify a defining point in the narrator’s life. If that were truly the case and he was so hung up on his ex that he couldn’t forget about her until hope was definitively lost (the exact minute of her marriage), then he most likely would have changed his ways to keep from hurting her, but as he tells us later, “Yeah, maybe I might’ve changed / It’s hard for me to say.” That admission does nothing to create a sympathetic character. Instead he tells us that the story is a sad one and it bothers him, which leaves me with that impression that he’s upset that she didn’t like him as much as he likes himself.
In addition, the production is a bit too heavy in the chorus and doesn’t properly set the mood that the song shoots for, especially the awkward bridge that sounds like Keith is prancing through an open meadow rather than upset about his “loss.” As country music continues to go after a younger audience, I expect to hear more songs like this being released.
Besides all that, the concept has been done before. Tracy Lawrence’s “I See It Now” covered similar territory with better results and you’ll notice that it doesn’t bother with irrelevant details.
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