My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Easton Corbin – ‘I Can’t Love You Back’

Two #1 singles into his career, young neo-traditionalist Easton Corbin releases his third single. ‘I Can’t Love You Back’ is a lost love ballad about clinging on to his feelings despite the absence of the loved one, written by Easton’s producer Carson Chamberlain with Clint Daniels and Jeff Hyde.

The emotion expressed is a straightforward one: no matter how much he continues to love her, that will not bring her back to him. It is very nicely presented, with Easton’s nicely understated vocal still sounding very reminiscent of a meld of George Strait and Alan Jackson. The tasteful production adds greatly to the effect, with Paul Franklin’s sweetly slithering steel guitar underlining the delicate sadness of the mood. This alone makes this track a welcome breath of fresh air on country radio.

The song itself is not spectacular, but a competently written, if perhaps a touch too tightly focussed, lyric, and an attractive melody. We don’t learn anything about the circumstances of the breakup: who left whom, why, even how long ago, or details of the relationship, and while that would have deepened the song emotionally, and made it more memorable in the long-term, the relative blank canvas allows a simple focus on the purity of the emotion, and perhaps allows listeners to project their own story into the empty spaces.

There is no trace of blame either addressed to the former loved one, or to himself, but there is clearly absolutely no hope for a reconciliation:

I could write a thousand letters
Call a hundred times a day
Or try to drown my sorrow at the bar
I could go down to the church
Get on my knees and pray
But it still won’t change the way things really are
Won’t bring you back again

If it were not for the lines about writing or calling her, one might assume she had died, so final is the loss. He sounds almost resigned to it, however; this is a subdued regret, not unbearable agony.

I do think that to consolidate his career, Easton needs stronger material for his second album, but this will do very nicely for now.

Grade: B+

Listen here.

3 responses to “Single Review: Easton Corbin – ‘I Can’t Love You Back’

  1. Ben Foster November 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    A little over-sung in places, but overall a good performance of a good song.

  2. Tom November 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    …reading your review while listening to the song amounted to just about the right kind of depth. quite enjoyable – both of them.

  3. Nicolas November 11, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    After enjoying the first 2 singles and now this, I’ve convinced myself that I need to get his album sometime in the not-too-distant future. Really good voice and refreshingly country material.

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