Tim McGraw has got to be the most up and down country performer of all time. Half the time he is putting out terrible songs like “Truck Yeah” and “Lookin’ For That Girl” and making you cringe, and the other half he puts out “Better Than I Used To Be” and “Live Like You Were Dying” to prove he can still knock one out of the park. “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” has him back on the positive side of the tracks, as this is one of the strongest songs of the year.
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” tells the age old story of longing for the slow, laid back lifestyle of one’s youth. The song, written by Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston, and Jeffery Steele, focuses on the fast paced world that the narrator is stuck in, and the simple life he left behind. In the end, the simple life wins out. Is it predictable and a little cliché? Sure. Is it still true to life and heartwarming? Absolutely. Just because it isn’t a surprising twist of a song doesn’t mean the narrative doesn’t still make an impact. This song is actually applicable to country music in general. In all the hustle and bustle to make the latest number one smash, you forget about the rural life that was left behind. Country music, along with Tim McGraw it seems, is coming back to mama’s, and hopefully kicking up its boots and staying awhile.
The sparse arrangement and gentle acoustic guitar is the perfect backdrop to this song. If I was in charge of production, I can’t think of one thing I’d change. It’s modern enough to be a hit, and country enough to be, well, country. Faith Hill does an excellent job on the harmony, as can be expected. Everyone seemed to want Faith Hill to be this big voiced power-diva, but she really is better suited for soft, gentle songs like this with her soulful voice.
The iTunes preview for Tim’s upcoming album, Sundown Heaven Town, is actually very promising. “City Lights” is a fantastic song, as is “Cigarettes and Old Barstools”, and “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s”. Hopefully, the album has even more songs like these. “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” should end up seeing some serious hardware at the CMA Awards. The only other mainstream song that I would classify as a better candidate for Song of The Year is “What We Ain’t Got” by Jake Owen, but it may have been released too late in the voting cycle to be a real threat. Whether it wins or not, “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” is a fantastic mainstream single, and yet another example of country music finally getting back to its roots. This song is certainly worth the listen.