My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Darryl Worley – ‘Sounds Like Life To Me’

Darryl WorleyThere are those songs that just stick with you and gnaw at you sometimes. This is one of those songs for me. To be honest, I didn’t like it very much in the beginning, not so much because of the music or Worley’s interpretation, but because it just seemed so insensitive.

You probably know the story by now since the song recently entered the top 20 . A guy’s friend’s wife calls him up to tell him that his friend has fallen off the wagon and she doesn’t know what to do. The singer heads down to the local bar where, sure enough, there sits his friend drowning his sorrows. And he’s got a long list of sorrows – some of which are pretty serious.

From bills to pay, three kids and a wife, and a baby on the way to putting Mama in the nursing home, this friend has a lot on his plate. Instead of just nodding with understanding, though, and allowing him to vent, Worley’s character responds

Sounds like life to me, plain old destiny
Yeah, the only thing for certain is uncertainty
You gotta hold on tight, just enjoy the ride
Get used to all this unpredictability
Sounds like life

Man, I know it’s tough but you’ve gotta suck it up
To hear you talk, you’re caught up in some tragedy
Sounds like life to me

My initial reaction to the song mirrored that of the reaction of the friend. His face gets red and he disagrees and says, “You don’t understand.” Many of the reviews I’ve read on the song seem to side with the friend and think the song isn’t worth listening to because it’s insensitive.

But why is it climbing into the top 20? And why does it just keep gnawing at me like it does? Strangely, I’ve come to really like this song, not only for the catchy tune, the production and Worley’s great interpretation – it’s worth the listen just for those by themselves – but also for what the song has to say, too.

A woman who is helping her mother transition from her home on the farm to an assisted living center this summer really likes this song. She told me it knocked some sense into her and helped her realize that we often fantasize about how life should be – no problems, no complications, etc. We act like normal life is a life without the struggles. In reality, normal life always includes the struggles. The struggles are part of living and loving in every day life. This song reminded her that what she is going through with her mom is a part of life. She can let it get her down, or she can look for the blessings in it. And lo and behold, when she looks for the blessings, she actually finds there are some.

Granted, the woman I know is further along in her journey of grieving the loss of her mother’s health, and accepting her mother’s need for more care. Different stages of the journey probably warrant different kinds of support from our friends – sometimes it’s just providing a listening ear and place to vent, but sometimes it’s some tough love that reminds us we’ll get through it because others have before us. We aren’t the first to go through this and we won’t be the last. It’s part of life.

There are probably many couples who have found out they’re expecting when they least expect it and when money’s tight. But down the road a ways, when they’re holding that precious child, many are ultimately thankful for the blessing and can’t imagine life without it.

Sometimes we need someone to tell us to buck up and that it “Sounds Like Life To Me.” Writers Worley, Wynn Varble, and Phil O’Donnell offer up that tough love and long term perspective in a great package in this song.

Whatever your take on the song, Darryl Worley’s back in the saddle since signing with James Stroud’s new label Stroudavarious Records.


17 responses to “Single Review: Darryl Worley – ‘Sounds Like Life To Me’

  1. J.R. Journey July 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Reading your review had given me a new appreciation for the lyric. I hear this song on the radio all the time too and I expected it to disappear by now. I guess there is a need for ‘tough love’ in the world.

  2. Leeann Ward July 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Ah. I still don’t like this song much, but I hear what you’re saying now that my brother-in-law has, in the last month, asked my sister for a divorce simply because he’s tired of the expected responsibilities of having a family.

  3. Leeann Ward July 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I should add that what still bothers me about the song isn’t so much the tough love, but rather, the dismissive way that he delivers it. In order to reach people in a dark or negative space, I don’t think categorically dismissing their feelings is super effective. I think the friend’s message could have been more digestable if he hadn’t been so callous in the delivery of it.

    • Meg July 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm

      I hear you on that one, Leeann, though I’ve met many folks in recovery (mostly recovering alcoholics) who don’t beat around the bush when doing the tough love thing with a friend who’s fallen off the wagon. A rebuttal song with a little humor might be titled, “Sounds Too Harsh To Me”! But cutting to the chase seems to be something that’s effective when someone’s drinking to escape the hardships of life rather than dealing with them apparently.

      That’s the only thing that’s inconsistant in the song and bugs me. When the friend says he’s expecting another child, Worley’s character asks the bartender to set up a round to celebrate — that doesn’t make sense if the guy truly has fallen off the wagon. Guess that’s the main reason it’s a B song and not an A song for me.

      • Leeann Ward July 17, 2009 at 8:20 am

        Yeah, that’s why I didn’t apply the kind of tough love logic that might have to applied to a recovering alcoholic, since the friend bought him drinks. It just seemed like a friend who didn’t really want to talk about anything difficult…sweep it under the rug. While I don’t particularly sympathicize with the father/husband in the story, telling someone to suck it up may be a bandaid, but probably not a permanent solution.

    • Occasional Hope July 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      I agree that the tone does mar the song, but I don’t think the protagonist callous exactly, just a little superficial/lacking in understanding.

  4. Amy July 17, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Good grief; who said it was a round of beer or liquor….could have been red bull or sprite zero for all we know!! No one mentioned how cool that Darryl’s character actually drove the guy home afterwards which was an amazing message of “don’t drink and drive”! But oh no, he’s so harsh! It’s a great song!

    • Leeann Ward July 17, 2009 at 8:23 am

      A round of red bull? I’m thinking the writers would have to make the effort to make that clear, otherwise the alcol is naturally assumed.

    • Meg July 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

      The video implies he drove him home in the friend’s truck (Worley rides his motorcycle to the bar initially for those who don’t remember). It was a good gesture and that’s one of the details in the video that helps the song hold up — still, the line about the bartender setting up another round just doesn’t quite fit. Might have been good to show a round of Sprite Zero to make it work.

      Otherwise, though, I really like the song. When I’m having a pitty party, it’s a good wake-up call. Life IS tough, but that’s normal. Life is also good even in the tough times.

  5. mandy July 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    i luv this song. i just wonder who plays the leading lady in the music video….

  6. Matt B. August 11, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Interesting thoughts about the song and basically the message feels like a “tough love” “get your head out of your ass” message.

    Chad Brock had a ballad called “Ordinary Life” that was strikingly similar to this.

  7. Bob Z October 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Here’s this poor fella, a little down on his luck, not getting any sleep (a teething baby will keep you up all night), about to fall off the wagon, and all his friend can do is tell him to “suck it up”?
    His friend is an insensitive idiot! This poor fella is at the end of his rope and his (good?) friend is too lazy to lend a helping hand and too stupid to give him some words of encouragement. All he can do is offer to buy a drink for his alcoholic buddy. You don’t buy a drink for an alcoholic unless you want to kill him!
    One last note for all you geniuses out there….most people HAVE NOT seen the video.

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