SONG REVIEW Whisky Lullaby By Rummana Ferdous Fagun


This is one of the songs on my playlist that makes me dread listening to it because it makes me think about how utterly fragile life can be, but once the tune gets in my head it just reminds me how beautiful the song is. It is dreadful because I have to listen to the sad end of a perfect love story, two hearts shattering with the same frequency. The video makes it easier to picture actually what happened (though it’s not a real story).

The back-story of the song is also very interesting. The most melodious line of the song, ‘he put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger’ is not actually written by the lyricists. Bill Anderson and Jon Randall co-wrote the song. Randall was going through a rough patch and he had to stay with his friend for a couple of weeks. When he was finally ready to go into the real world again he apologised to his friend for causing any inconveniences, he got the reply — ‘That’s all right Jon. I’ve put the bottle to my head and pulled the trigger a few times myself’.

The song was not even supposed to be like this, it was supposed to be sung by one person only reminiscing over a burning cigarette at midnight thinking about the love he once shared with his long lost significant other, burned away like the cigarette. The song was to be named ‘midnight cigarette’, which ultimately became the first line of the song; ‘She put him out like the burning end of a midnight cigarette’.

After the lyrics being written in the year 2000, it was kept on hold for a few years! On a fateful evening, Brad Paisley heard the song and he was awestruck. He wanted to sing it and suggested that it would be a great duet. He thought Alison Krauss was the perfect partner for this song and so it was sung. And boy did they sing!

The song was released in 2004 as the third single in Paisley’s album — Mud on the Tires. It reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been certified double platinum and won Song of the Year at the 2005 CMA Awards. Overall it had great success and for good reason.

It is one of the songs that make you think deeply. ‘Life is short but this time it was bigger’. One of the little actions can change life in a matter of seconds. Life is hard but it is harder when you don’t have people who love you holding you upright. The song is a mixture of an array of emotions, emotions evoking the colours crimson and green mixed with a little black. It makes you think though, is ending one’s life the answer to everything. Though Jon Randall pulled himself out of the gutter, he showed how life can get messy if you are not caring and nurturing enough to truly love someone.

‘He spent his whole life trying to forget’, life spent in pain is a life wasted.

‘….And when we buried him beneath the willow
The angels sang a whiskey lullaby.’

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