Pitchfork Premiere: Doug Paisley “Song My Love Can Sing”
By Grayson Haver Currin
“Song My Love Can Sing” finds Doug Paisley, or at least his forlorn narrator, doing himself no emotional favors: Caught in the seemingly ceaseless wake of a breakup, he takes the blame and ponders ways to win back the affections of someone he let loose—being more patient, being more responsive, being at least a little bit satisfied. The song Paisley contemplates writing as he sings this tune takes on two meanings, both as a metaphor for finding the “right” paramour in the future and, at least in the present, a blues-like way to eulogize what he’s already lost.
But it’s a futile effort, Paisley acknowledges, that this number—no matter how bittersweet the words, no matter how perfect the spry background organ reminds of the Band’s Garth Hudson, no matter how smoothly his tender tone swivels into this perfect country-rock groove—won’t get him to where he has been or hopes to go. “This is a memory from that time/For all its sadness, it won’t bring her back,” he sings, harmonies lifting into the chorus and twinkling out into a moment of eternal despair as Paisley turns to the last line. “To my side.” Strong Feelings, Paisley’s third album for No Quarter, due January 21.