ToC Critic’s Pick: Chris Stapleton, ‘Either Way’ [Listen]
Chris Stapleton's new song "Either Way" isn’t so much a single as it is a dare. The ballad is more sparse than anything sent to radio in recent years, but the song’s power is undeniable.
By leading with "Either Way," Stapleton makes a statement that his music will not be compromised by a narrow (but expanding) radio definition of a hit song. If there's more than a single guitar accompanying him on the first taste of his upcoming album, it's buried beneath, well, him. Any song coming before or after his on a playlist will be layered like an onion.
This is a tremendous vocal performance that assures fans he'll continue to be the gold standard moving forward. His guitar shadows him as Stapleton works up the scale at each thundering chorus. Contrast the power of his vocals with the dark, fragile and hopeless nature of his lyrics. There is no sunshine to be found on "Either Way," a dynamite original from a man working in a very narrow lane.
Did You Know?: Lee Ann Womack recorded this song in 2008 on her Call Me Crazy album. Stapleton wrote it with Kendall Marvel and Tim James.
Listen to Chris Stapleton, "Either Way"
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Chris Stapleton's "Either Way" Lyrics:
We pass in the hall / On our way to separate rooms / The only time we ever talk / Is when the monthly bills are due / We go work, we go to church / We fake the perfect life / I'm past the point of give a damn / And all my tears are cried.
We can just go on like this / Say the word we'll call it quits / Baby you can go or you can stay / I won't love you either way.
It's been so long since I felt / Anything inside these walls / You can't hate and you can't hurt / When you don't feel at all / I used to cry and stay up nights / And wonder what went wrong / It's been hard but hearts can only / Do that for so long.
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