"One of Those Nights"
Some themes never seem to grow old and die in the music world. Such is the case with the latest hit single from 45-year-old country stalwart Tim McGraw. "One of Those Nights" finds him waxing deliriously sappy as he glories in the exploits of a guy and his girl making a "special" memory together … presumably in the backseat of his car.
The song's story can be summarized succinctly: A man leaves work and picks up his gal. They go to a party, drink a little, dance a little and get turned on a little when the DJ plays their song. She suggests they find someplace quieter. They don't get far before they pull off the road and turn out the lights. In short, Tim tells us, "This is gonna be one of those nights."
McGraw, of course, takes a bit more time to unpack all those narrative details. And the song's focus begins with the girl. More specifically, what she's wearing. "She's getting dressed up, putting on that lipstick/Shimmy shaking right into them cut-offs, baby, oh yeah," we're told. As for our male "hero," well, he's just punched the clock, gotten paid and is looking forward to a memorable evening with his main squeeze. "Here she comes now, looking so fine/You've been waiting on this night for such a long, long time."
They head out to a party, and their conversation on the way hints at what's coming next: "She slides in, and you roll down Main Street/ … She picks a song, you turn it up to 11/You say, 'Do you wanna?' and she says, 'H‑‑‑, yeah"/So you hit the party, all your buddies are jealous."
Mr. McGraw doesn't spell out in explicit detail what happens after that party. But you don't have to be Dr. Drew to grasp what the next suggestive lines imply: "And then she slides in, and she gives you the green light/You hold off 'til you turn off the headlights/ … Full moon through a crack in the window/You hold her close, and you'll never forget how her heartbeat feels/No, you never will."
The romantic upshot is that this consummation of their relationship—if not the loss of the their virginity—will be a memory they'll cherish for the rest of their lives. "'Cause someday, when you're looking back on your life/At the memories, this is gonna be one of those nights."
It's a sentimental picture of sex, to be sure, that McGraw's tryin' hard to sell here. But I'm not buyin'. All I can think of while listening to this track is how many of us have fallen for this particular lie—the idea that young love is best celebrated in the backseat of a car. Is this really the pinnacle experience of intimacy? Is this really a better option than wedding night bliss?
Isn't it crazy that I sound so very old fashioned just stating basic moral facts that nearly all of us held dear not very many years ago?
Tim McGraw is old enough to know better. But for younger music lovers who may not be, let me say this clearly and plainly: "One of Those Nights" has merely repackaged one of pop music's most stubbornly seductive deceptions. It's a lie that encourages sexual sin. It's a romanticization of something that you may very well regret, not cherish, for the rest of your life.