ADD: Love at First – Canaan Smith (Mercury)

This is a great record on every level. There are so many hooks in this thing, it’s gonna catch every kind of fish. First, of course, broken hearted guys (ain’t we all) who’ve seen the girl that dumped them walking with another guy. That guy’s gonna get this. That theme has been used to make some very big hit records. Dion’s “Runaround Sue”, that was it for me, the one that hit me hardest when I was a kid. If you’re male, you’ve got one that says pretty much what you think about it and her and all that.

Next, it’s got a brilliant opening. That guitar, what is that? Kind of Hawaiian, almost. Well, not that but, dang it’s fluid. His first words are “I don’t know how I didn’t see it coming.” You want to listen to that! Tell me about it, boy. That is a major hook and it comes right up front. He goes on to tell us a little background, that first meeting: “It was love at first sight, love at first sip, Love at first word, rolling off her lips” Now say those four lines aloud. Say them again. That feels good to say, right? It’s a rhyme that sticks with you. That is the very essence of a major hit song.

So, he saw her with this other guy, thought about telling him what’s in store but didn’t Then he muses that someday she’ll get what what she deserves and she’ll be sad and feeling just this bad.

And the song closes out with this one:
“It was love at first but now it hurts”
Repeated four times. It is so simple and it is so universal. If you are a human past puberty, you have felt it, you know it.

Now all of this is sailing on dynamite dance groove. The production and arrangement are spot-on perfect. Little trinkets for the ear are dropped in here and there, elegantly highlighting Canaan Smith’s intimate singing and emotional delivery.

Lordy, this is a good one.

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