Song of the Day #4,184: ‘Sugartooth’ – Brandi Carlile

Best Albums of the 2010s – #8
By the Way, I Forgive You – Brandi Carlile (2018)

Brandi Carlile is the artist on this top 20 list I discovered most recently. I started hearing praise for her 2018 album By the Way, I Forgive You in spring of that year and fell in love with it as soon as I played it.

As with Jason Isbell, I immediately dove into Carlile’s back catalog and discovered she’s been putting out great music for 15 years. Incidentally, Carlile is a member of the all-woman supergroup The Highwomen, who released their debut album this year, along with Isbell’s wife, Amanda Shires.

When I start getting this high on these lists, every album sounds like it could be in the top spot. Browsing this record’s tracks reminded me of how much emotion and energy Carlile puts into every note she sings, every word she writes. This is rich, rewarding music, not something you listen to in the background.

[Note: Happy Anniversary to my parents! Sorry I’m commemorating the event with a song about an opioid addict!]

[Verse 1]
He wasn’t really known for breaking the rules
When he arrived in the second year of my high school
He wasn’t so much of a twist of fate
As a short turn up from a Southern state
He was born with a sweet tooth he couldn’t beat
Always trying to find himself something sweet
All that he found was a trouble and me
Or maybe trouble just found him

[Verse 2]
It was hard to hide that his heart had scars
He would stay up late talking to the stars
People tried to blame him for making bad choices
When he was only listening to the voices
And searching for some kind of deeper truth
Between the lines and the Bible and living proof
There’s no point now to judge him in vain
If you haven’t been there, you don’t know the pain

[Chorus]
He was a liar, but not a fraud
Living proof that there was no God
Just the Devil, stiff as a rod
A slave to a sugartooth

[Verse 3]
His life became more than he could take
He found a bad habit he couldn’t break
Nothing could tame him and nothing could hold him
He only took the pills when the doctor told him
Looking to help for the something sweet
To make his life feel less incomplete
What in the hell are you gonna do
When the world has made its mind up about you?

[Chorus]
He was a liar, but not a fraud
Living proof that there was no God
Just the Devil, stiff as a rod
A slave to a sugartooth

[Bridge]
He wanted to be a better man
Then life kicked him down like an old tin can
He would give you the shirt on his back
If not for a sugartooth

[Verse 4]
They found him lying on his bed
With a gun in his hand and a quiet head
His broken heart, now, is finally gone
But I know that he had to hurt for too long
To think he had fought it all on his own
Just to lose the battle and die alone
After so many years of feeling the loss
He finally made his way back home

[Verse 5]
And I heard they put what was left in a box
And took it to a place called Jesus Rock
And scattered him all over jagged mound
As a symbol to all that the peace had been found
But not for a sign is left behind
With a hand stuck reaching back in time
To a place in which you can never unwind
I hope he found something so sweet

[Chorus]
He was a liar, but not a fraud
Living proof that there was no God
Just the Devil, stiff as a rod
A slave to a sugartooth

[Bridge]
He wanted to be a better man
But life kicked him down like an old tin can
He would give you the shirt on his back
If not for a sugartooth

[Outro]
Ooh, ooh, ooh, a slave to a sugartooth
Ooh, ooh, ooh, a slave to a sugartooth
Ooh, ooh, ooh, a slave to a sugartooth
Ooh, ooh, ooh, a slave to a sugartooth

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,184: ‘Sugartooth’ – Brandi Carlile

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I discovered Carlile when she appeared on the Howard Stern Show and was immediately drawn in by her music and her story of being a 20 year overnight success story. She is certainly deserving of the accolades she has been getting and a high ranking on your best of 2010’s album list.

  2. Peg says:

    Thank you ❤️

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I think pretty much everyone in the mainstream discovered Brandi Carlisle from this album and the massive success of “The Joke” off that album. It is great that someone who has consistently been releasing quality material finally get the recognition she deserves. I haven’t yet done as deep a dive of her work as Isbell’s, but based off this song and other tracks I’ve heard, I might have to!

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