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defend the album is a lyrics-first blog by me, bradley fields, about the stories and moments I find in albums that matter to me. Almost always in fewer than 1,000 words.

Darius Rucker's When Was the Last Time

Darius Rucker spends most of When Was the Last Time praising simpler things and remembering how much better off he is sticking to them. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if one of those simpler things turned out to be love.

You say you never drank from the bottle of some two dollar wine.

For the First Time is a call to break monotony with the simple bare necessities. 

Bring your jagged little heart; all those pieces of you.

The traits in Bring It On unfold through what’s probably too male a lens. But his embrace of her—however she chooses to be—still feels genuine.

Laugh to the beat of that tape deck radio.

Life’s Too Short’s nostalgia is unrealistic but catchy. Besides, we can still say, “Mmmm, that breeze feels good” and mean it—revel in how “This scene’s all God-painted” too—even while in the darkest timeline.

Could you love me anyway?

If I Told You complements Bring It On. I’ve lived a few of its stories—like the one about being disconnected from my father, the one about dreams miles away, and the one about doubting I’m the right half of a relationship.

I can’t imagine anything I couldn’t love you through.

Don’t is asking her to believe you mean it and celebrating the newness of getting to try again and again (“Every single morning, my eyes fall on you”). It’s a covenant.

Trying to be somebody, but you end up somebody else.

Twenty Something reminds me of Five for Fighting’s 100 Years. The pattern of climbing through the years via verses isn’t new but it’s warm and, for me at 35, timely.

Might not be love like our love was, but that’s all right.

In Count the Beers, he’s moved forward but not on. It’s probably a rebound, but there’s zero wrong with finding someone who “likes the sad songs that play all night long.” Get your moments, even if they’re minutes and not milestones.

The sunrise... always puts a damper on our kind of love.

As someone who’s always in a push-and-pull with time, Another Night With You’s idea of talking the moon out of making way for daylight has me in its clutches.

Let the world outside our window do whatever it’s gonna do.

Get to the point and come get this love in Hands On Me. It’s followed by She and its girl in a country song (“She could have been born... anywhere you might hear a screen door slam”).

If I ever get to heaven, I’m gonna have a story to tell.

Story to Tell is marked by honesty (“Some pages I wish I could tear out”) and a characteristically Darius ad-libbed “y’all.” It’s the way I want to go out too: with something to talk about.

Straight to Hell—a the-boys-are-back-in-town anthem—is better in its full version, as the record’s close, than its shorter version is mid-record.

Notes

Release date

October 20, 2017

Producer

Ross Copperman

Writers

Adam Doleac · A.J. Babcock · Ashley Gorley · Chris Tompkins · Dallas Davidson · Darius Rucker · Dean Dillon · Derek George · Jaren Johnston · Jon Nite · Josh Osborne · Josh Thompson · JT Harding · ·Kevin Kinney · Pete Good · Rodney Clawson · Ross Copperman · Shane McAnally · Travis Hill · Zach Crowell

Niall Horan's Flicker

Majid Jordan’s The Space Between