Live Like You Were Dying
“My Old Friend” honors a buddy who has passed away. Terminally ill, a man urges a friend to live a righteous, full life (“Live Like You Were Dying”). On “Drugs or Jesus” the singer claims that people run to one or the other, and chooses the latter (“Oh, I need you Jesus, hallelujah”). He offers to comfort a woman taken for granted by her partner (“Just Be Your Tear”) and tells listeners to work hard toward their dreams (“How Bad Do You Want It”). On “Kill Myself,” a suicidal guy realizes at the last minute that by God’s grace he can start anew. The son of an abusive drunk recalls his mother urging him to “Walk Like a Man” and resist the same temptations. Other songs model perseverance through trials (“We Carry On”) and accept responsibility for recklessness (“Open Season on My Heart”). A longing for simpler times and uncomplicated language characterizes “Back When.”
A guy blasting his ex-wife’s lover for ruining his life goes a bit far (“I hope you both choke on a pickle ... That would tickle me to death”). “Old New Town” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” mention alcohol. The latter finds the singer willing to learn lessons about booze and cigarettes the hard way. Two songs include mild profanities.
There’s a lot to like here. McGraw (who plays the father of a fumble-prone rusher in the movie Friday Night Lights) may drop the ball on a few songs, but he makes game-breaking gains on others.