My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Joanna Smith – ‘We Can’t Be Friends’

Newcomer Joanna Smith failed to break through with her first two singles, the vivacious ‘Gettin’ Married’ and the less memorable ‘Georgia Mud’. Having moved from Columbia to BNA, her third effort marks a change of pace, and hopefully a change in her fortunes.

A ballad sensitively produced by Buddy Cannon with a rather pretty melody, the song portrays subdued heartbreak and the effort of suppressing it. A complete break is the only way for Joanna to get over the man she still loves, as he is committed to another woman:

We can’t be friends
We both know that
You can’t tell me you don’t love her
And I’ve got no right to ask

There is still a strong spark between them and a casual meeting is bound to end up with a renewal of their relationship, with an inevitable “accidental” touch of the hand transporting them into passion. The implication is that Joanna’s decision to break things off for good comes at the end of just such an encounter. The pain underlying the protagonist’s rejection of a future for her with this man is conveyed in an understated but entirely convincing way.

She concludes,

We can’t be friends
It’s just too tough
It’s not that I don’t love you
It’s that I love you way too much
We’ll just end up here again
We can’t be friends

A sweet harmony supports Joanna’s delicate vocal. I’m afraid it may be too subtle and low key for country radio, but this is a beautifully delivered and very mature song which I warmly recommend.  The song was written by Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark and Shelley Skidmore.

Grade: A+

Listen on her website.

One response to “Single Review: Joanna Smith – ‘We Can’t Be Friends’

  1. J.R. Journey March 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I like this track a lot and this writing team – or at least Clark and McAnally – have been turning out some great album cuts. Clark and McAnally’s contributions to Reba’s last album are the only tracks worth repeating.

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