Song of the Day #921: ‘Oh Yeah, You’re Gone’ – Brad Paisley

Today’s song, a slow beauty from the back half of Brad Paisley’s wonderful American Saturday Night, falls into a category I like to call “Dead or Dumped?”

The lyrics are sufficiently vague and the tone sufficiently somber to support the theory that the woman Paisley is singing about left him not by choice but because she dropped dead.

I’ve encountered other songs with a similar make-up, though I can’t for the life of me think of any of them right now. If you can, please add them to the comments.

But I’m more interested in your take on this particular tune. Do you believe the woman in question is an ex or the dearly departed? And please cite lyrical evidence supporting your conclusion.

I personally lean toward the death theory. If this is about a breakup, clearly it wasn’t the singer who did the dumping. And I believe if this woman dumped him, he would have some anger mixed in with the sadness. But the tone of the song is overwhelming despair.

The details in the early verses all center around him assuming she’s still around. In a breakup, I believe you’re hyper-aware that she’s not only not with you but that she’s out there somewhere, doing something, possibly with somebody else. A death, however, leaves you wondering how she could simply not be there one day when the day before she was.

So what do you think?

I open my eyes, look at the clock
It says eight fifteen
Stumble out of bed, fumble down the hall
Still half asleep

Open up a window, open up the paper
And put some coffee on
Grab two cups
Oh yeah, you’re gone

Shower and shave, take a little time to read the news
Sort through the mail
See something about some sale they’re having on women’s shoes

Billy’s band is playing at the Canyon club on Friday
I bet they sing our song
Maybe we can go
Oh yeah, you’re gone

This is gonna take some getting used to, baby
I’m gonna need more time
Because I still say us when I ought to say me
I still say ours instead of mine
Every plan I make, every road I take
I still see you riding along
Then suddenly it hits me
Oh yeah, you’re gone

Oh there ain’t no doubt about it, baby
Oh yeah, you’re gone

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5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #921: ‘Oh Yeah, You’re Gone’ – Brad Paisley

  1. Dana says:

    I don’t see the evidence that she’s dead. Seems more like a breakup song. For one thing, he’s singing TO HER. Now, yeah, I suppose he could be singing to her in the afterlife, but I don’t think so. If that were the case, I would expect some quasi religious or spiritual reference to the lord taking her so young.

    In the absence of evidence that Brad actually lost a loved one to death or knew someone else who did, I would stick with the less morbid interpretation that this is a breakup song where the singer feels sadness and resignation, but not anger, over the ending of a long term relationship.

  2. Clay says:

    Well, the song is fiction regardless, as Paisley is happily married with two children. I don’t think we need evidence that it’s based on real events to speculate on its meaning.

    And I believe it’s quite common to sing (or talk) to somebody after they die in this sort of conversational way, as if he or she is still around. As that is the theme of the song (if indeed it is about death) I would expect it.

  3. peg says:

    This is hard, in some ways I can see your point Clay, esp. when he grabs two cups for coffee and then remembers he only needs one. That is something that could happen when someone you loved has died because it’s part of your life. In the wonderful Sinatra song “It never entered my mind” “I awake with the sun and order orange juice for one–you had what I lack myself, now I even have to scratch my back myself” that lyric is clearly about someone who has left him but not dead (in my mind anyway) but the reaching out for the cup–that is heart breaking.

  4. Dana says:

    Yes, I understand that it is fiction, but since the singer is so young and there is no indication from the lyrics that he is “playing” someone older, I tend to think this is about being dumped, not someone dying. Quite honestly, if someone young lost someone to a presumably untimely death, you might expect even more anger and incredulity in the lyrics than you find here.

  5. Amy says:

    Well, I can make a case for either interpretation, as that is what I do 😉

    However, I find the final two lines the best indication that it’s a break-up rather than a death. When he says, “Oh there ain’t no doubt about it, baby,” there is a cavalier tone to those words that would not accompany the loss to death of a beloved girlfriend/wife. I have to agree with Dana that the song would come with even more shock and despair if she was gone gone, not just from the singer’s life, but from life altogether.

    This speaker seems saddened the way a person is when a long-term relationship has come to an end, regardless, really, of who did the leaving. Once the initial sting of being “dumped” has passed, or the initial guilt of doing the “dumping,” the end result is still the same. The relationship is over, and now you’re operating as a single person again, after you had become used to operating as part of a couple. That takes “some getting used to,” a phrase you would expect to hear linked to a man getting used to being a bachelor again far more than you would expect to hear linked to a man “getting used to” the fact that his wife has died. You’re not expected to have to get used to that – especially, as Dana points out, when you’re as young as the singer/speaker clearly is.

    So… using the cavalier tone of the next to last line and the repeated textual evidence of “take some getting used to,” I conclude that the speaker is singing about a relationship that has ended but not a wife who has died.

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