Song of the Day #1,509: ‘All the Reasons We Don’t Have to Fight’ – Tift Merritt

Of the 35 artists I’m featuring in my musical genome series, seven are women. And of those seven, three fall into the ‘Country Plus’ category. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or if it says something about my taste.

Tift Merritt started off as very much a country artist with her debut Bramble Rose, though hewing more toward Americana and folk than traditional country. She quickly expanded that sound on her sophomore album, Tambourine, exploring Memphis soul and R&B flavors.

On her third record, Another Country, she shifted gears again, switching from guitar to piano on many tracks and writing in more of a folk and soft rock style. On her most recent album, See You On the Moon, she landed in full-on Joni Mitchell Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter territory, with hints of the country, R&B and folk peppered throughout.

Merritt’s fifth album (Traveling Alone) is due in October and first single ‘To Myself’ is an alt-country delight, with a grungy lead guitar and more of a rock sound than she has attempted in the past. Perhaps the rest of the album will follow suit.

All of these musical twists and turns make Merritt a tough one to categorize in my musical genome. She definitely has a home in the ‘Smart Country’ category; she doesn’t utilize the piano enough to earn her a nod there; while she clearly has some pop influences, her own music is far from ‘Pure Pop.’

I’m tempted to check the ‘Folk Rock Derivative’ box because she definitely has strains of folk in her music, but I think it’s more of the Joni Mitchell variety — maybe call it Folk Soft Rock. I’m going to leave her out of that box.

Finally, Merritt definitely warrants inclusion in my ‘Melancholy’ grouping, as her many thoughtful and touching ballads demonstrate exactly the sort of emotional ache that I have in mind for that category. So Merritt joins Fountains of Wayne on the list of two-category artists.

For those keeping track at home, that makes it two three-category acts, two two-category acts, three one-category act and a single ‘Oddball’ band that doesn’t fit neatly into any of my groups.

We used to sleep real late, play our records loud.
Times we were broke, we’d laugh about it.
Sometimes we’d just leave town, go down to the shore,
Watch the waves close out, just to be close, just to be close.

I don’t want to fight anymore,
About childish things we did before,
I didn’t mean what I said last night.
I love you more than who is right and wrong,
I want to stay and I made this song
Of all the reasons we don’t have to fight.

These words we shout, so who’s to say
Where they will go when they fall away?
Maybe they hang around with the lonely kids,
With a balled up fist, saying, you did this, you did this.

I don’t want to fight anymore,
About what we lost or things we swore.
I didn’t mean what I said last night.
I love you more than who is right and wrong,
I’m gonna stay and made this song
Of all the reasons we don’t have to fight.

The morning light goes red to gray
On what we’ve broken and throw away.
If I could I just know how to walk away from my pride,
Can you help me down? Can we put it back, put it back?

I don’t want to fight anymore,
I don’t even know what it started for.
I didn’t mean what I said last night.
I love you more than who is right and wrong,
I stayed up late and I made this song
Of all the reasons we don’t have to fight.

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,509: ‘All the Reasons We Don’t Have to Fight’ – Tift Merritt

  1. Dana says:

    Boy, this categorization exercise sure is confusing! :-)

    But I applaud that you keep fighting the good fight to make Tift a household name. :-)

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Pleased to see two mentions of Joni in your review. Any chance you have reconsidered her merits?

  3. Clay says:

    Well, I do appreciate her merits, I just don’t like listening to them.

  4. Amy says:

    As I’ve just indicated in my last comment on the Billy Joel post, I am no longer confused. Here is another singer/songwriter with whom Clay has bonded. No categorization necessary. Joni Mitchell doesn’t do it for him; Tift Merritt does.

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