My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Clint Black – ‘One Emotion’

one emotionWhile it yielded five top 5 hit singles and was Clint’s fifth (and last) platinum album, 1994’s One Emotion is one of his least inspired, and as Clint served (as usual) as the writer or co-writer of every song no-one else can be blamed. Sadly, the one emotion I feel through almost all this album is boredom.

Lead single ‘Untanglin’ My Mind’ was a co-write with Merle Haggard, and is one of the few tracks to bear comparison with Clint’s best work. It is an excellent classic ballad about the painful aftermath of a failed relationship, with some tasteful fiddle supporting the wearied but accepting mood, and. It peaked at a respectable #4 and stands head and shoulders above everything else here:

I’m sure no one will wonder where I’ve gone to
But if anyone should ask from time to time
Tell them that you finally drove me crazy
And I’m somewhere untanglin’ my mind

Tell ’em I won’t be ridin’, I’ll be walkin’
‘Cause I don’t think a crazy man should drive
Anyway, the car belongs to you now
Along with any part of me that’s still alive
But there’s really not much left you could hold onto
And if you did it wouldn’t last here anyway
It’d head to where the rest of me rolled onto
So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t stay

The blandly philosophical blues-imbued ‘Wherever You Go’ reached #3 but is less to my taste and while inoffensive, is not particularly insightful (the message is that you can’t escape your problems by running away).

‘Summer’s Comin’’ is rather boring but its cheerful feel propelled it to the top of the chart. Clint was obviously in a seasonal mood when writing this album because the later ‘A Change In The Air’ is about impending fall; this one sounds pleasantly mellow but lacks depth, although I prefer it to ‘Summer’s Comin’’. The one-two combination is redolent of a creative writing exercise and it’s not hard to suspect Clint was lacking inspiration generally at this point.

The incredibly boring title track unfortunately has nothing to recommend it but a pleasant background melody, but somehow almost made it to the #1 spot on the charts, topping out at #2.

The middle of the album is badly bogged down with a trio of particularly dull tracks. ‘Life Gets Away’ (amazingly a #4 hit single) and ‘I Can Get By’ are forgettable attempts at deep philosophical messages which are really just bland, obvious truisms. ‘Hey Hot Rod’ is a boring rocker featuring Clint’s trademark harmonica as its sole point of interest.

The swingy and well-played ‘You Walked By’ is quite enjoyable, and I liked it better than any of the singles apart from ‘Untanglin’ My Mind’. However, it leads into ‘You Made Me Feel’ written with blue-eyed soul man Michael McDonald, which is back to the dull and forgettable.

The CD version includes bonus tracks of Clint’s previous hits ‘A Good Run Of Bad Luck’ and Wynonna duet ‘A Bad Goodbye’.

The best one can say about most of the songs on this album is that they sound decent (something one almost took for granted in the early 90s but makes this album sound a lot better in today’s context), but the lyrics, while inoffensive, are oh so boring. Even at bargain basement used prices, this one is not worth it. Download ‘Untanglin’ My Mind’ and ‘You Walked By’ and skip the rest.

Grade: C-


6 responses to “Album Review: Clint Black – ‘One Emotion’

  1. Razor X April 11, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I agree with your assessment. This is definitely one of Clint’s poorer efforts, but I do like “Untanglin’ My Mind” quite a lot.

  2. Paul W Dennis April 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    “Untanglin’ My Mind” really wasn’t a co-write with Merle Haggard. I was told that Haggard wrote the song alone and Clint found it and changed the song slightly and added his name as the co-writer. Clint’s version actually was recorded first since Hag didn’t really have a regular record deal at the time simply shopping around his finished masters – as it happened Curb released several of them but spent no money on promotion or graphics.

    Perhaps Ken Johnson has more details on the story

    • Razor X April 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      I imagine that if Clint did that he would have been leaving himself open to a huge lawsuit — unless Haggard agreed to it in order to get the song recorded. It does sound more like a Haggard tune than Clint Black one, though.

  3. Luckyoldsun April 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    You cannot “find” a song and change it on your own and make yourself a co-writer. There had to be mutual agreement. I’ve also heard that Haggard claims that it’s almost all his and that Clint just tinkered with it–and that seems to be a violation of the unwritten code. Sounds like he had some sort of falling-out with Clint. I don’t know if Clint has ever given his side of the story.

    In any event, the lyrics to Clint’s version seem a bit sharper and crisper than the lyrics to the version that Hag later put out.

  4. Acca Dacca July 19, 2014 at 12:36 am

    While this one definitely isn’t one of my favorites I don’t think it’s his weakest album. As I mentioned in another comment, Spend My Time is the album that I personally consider his low point. As for the album being filler, that’s an accurate assessment. When his debut came out, he had songs and was looking for an album deal. With this album, I feel like he had a release date and was looking for songs. And that, friends, is the difference between an album that is intended to be art and an album that is the result of a contract obligation.

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