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

28 Jan

Songwriters:  Jay Knowles, Adam Wright

Simply put, this is Alan Jackson’s finest single in over half a decade.  Humble, genuinely sincere, achingly honest, and beautifully sung – all the qualities of Jackson’s finest songs this one possesses in spades.

As the song’s brokenhearted narrator faces the impending breakup, he expresses total willingness to accept all of the blame for the relationship’s demise.  He gives no second thought to the effect on his reputation as he tells his ex “When you and your friends talk/ Make it all my fault/ Tell ‘em I’m rotten to the core/ I’ll let it all slide/ Get ‘em all on your side/ So you don’t have to love me anymore.”

The song paints a powerful picture of selfless love, as the narrator resigns himself to doing whatever it takes to allow his former lover to find closure, offering to “keep all those memories of the good times… So when you think of you and me, they won’t even cross your mind.”  Perhaps the most gut-wrenching moment is when he promises “If you need me to make your cry, I don’t want to but I’ll try,” which is thanks in no small part to Jackson’s plaintive delivery.  This is clearly a song about a man who is in a dark, dark place emotionally, and such is the making of a country music classic.  Indirectly, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” hones in on a sad truth that most great country artists know all too well:  Once you’ve lost the one you love, nothing else matters.  Nothing.

Though Jackson’s commercial fortunes have lately been on a gradual decline along with the quality of his recent material, it sure would be a shame for country radio to let this great song slip through its fingers.  After a few years of hearing Jackson sing about everything from bologna to bug-infested margaritas, it’s extremely refreshing to once again hear him pour his rich voice into a song that is, not just “pretty good,” and not just so-so, but something truly great.  “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” ranks among Alan Jackson’s best work to date; which, for a legend of such lofty stature, is no small distinction.


(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10) 

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Single Reviews



7 responses to “Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

  1. Val

    January 28, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    I agree 100%.

  2. Darren MacDougall

    January 30, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    This is amazing.

  3. rowdyred

    February 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Oh, Ben. That paragraph No. 3 of yours is just bloody brilliant. You choked me up, bud!

    I love this song too. I fear that it will not fit the tempo of current country radio, which would be a tragedy if they skip it because it’s somber. But this song is exactly what is meant by “three chords and the truth” when defining country music. It’s not mock rock, it’s not redneck-y, it’s not cliche’d within an inch of its life. It’s the sad truth about surrendering hope at the end of a relationship. These are the eloquent words of a noble man trying to take the high ground while his heart is breaking. I’d much (much) rather hear this on the radio than, say, “Red Solo Cup,” which is my idea of country apocalypse.

    For once I hope the radio hotshots do the right thing. It’s up to them to let songs like this inch the genre back from the abyss it’s been rushing towards lately.

  4. Frances Boyette

    February 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Can we rate it a 12? The song is WAY better than a 10.

  5. rowdyred

    June 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Resurrecting this review and thread to say that Alan was on David Letterman’s show last night (6/5/12) and sang this. I HOPE it’s a sign that Alan’s label and publicist are trying to get some media/audience buzz and the song MIGHT get a spin or two on the radio.

    I just rewatched it on the CBS site…it got to me, again, and it got to Dave, too. He called it “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” and made a joke about it being somber as he wiped his eye.

    Come on now, radio guys, what the heck is wrong with you?

    • rowdyred

      June 12, 2012 at 7:27 PM

      Just a follow up about the radio guys….”So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore” has finally cracked the Top 30 so most radio stations should have it. We who want to hear this kind of music need to make some calls and ask for it!

  6. Best Songs

    June 12, 2012 at 9:56 PM

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