Sunday Music: Starting Over

Change is hard. Even when it’s for the better. Chris Stapleton tackles moving forward in the title track to his latest album, “Starting Over.” It’s a life song and it’s a love song. It’s a song about reaching out and letting go. It’s a song about not knowing what comes next but knowing what matters. And, because Stapleton’s one of our modern greats, he makes us feel the contrast in every line, every melody, and every note.

I’ve added the lyrics below so you can see how he’s poetically creating tension, but I also want to point out one simple musical method he’s using too (that I’m just enamored with at the moment).

For the non-music theory folks, think of the chorus line by line. On the first two lines, notice how the chords start minor (think melancholy) and end on our major home key (think peaceful) in a quick, tidy loop. The second two lines repeat the same musical idea. Note the minor tension to major resolution in the lyrics too.

It don’t matter to me
Wherever we are is where I wanna be
And, honey, for once in our life
Let’s take our chances and roll the dice

Next, the song jumps to the chord harmonically farthest from the home key. Notice how he gave us two similar ideas in a row and changed us up with the third (classic). Picture the maximum point a rubber band can stretch. We’re stretched out to that note in the scale at the start of the fifth line. It creates space and an even stronger sense of suspense. He sings,

I can be your lucky penny

Compared to the first four lines of the chorus, this one isn’t minor or melancholy. He’s showing us he’s begun to make a statement. The next line and chord take us a single step closer back to home, but only a step. He’s masterfully drawing it out at this point, all while handing out another adorable compliment,

You can be my four-leaf clover

And then, as if the tension in the lyrics weren’t enough on their own, he lands us back in the home key – with the same chords we first heard in the intro of the song itself, all while singing the lyrics, “starting over.” It’s perfect. It’s craftsmanship at every level. I love this man and I love this song. Here are the full lyrics and the video below.

Well the road rolls out like a welcome mat
To a better place than the one we’re at
And I ain’t got no kinda plan
But I’ve had all of this town I can stand
And I got friends out on the coast
We can jump in the water and see what floats
We’ve been saving for a rainy day
Let’s beat the storm and be on our way

It don’t matter to me
Wherever we are is where I wanna be
And, honey, for once in our life
Let’s take our chances and roll the dice
I can be your lucky penny
You can be my four-leaf clover
Starting over

This might not be an easy time
There’s rivers to cross and hills to climb
Some days we might fall apart
And some nights might feel cold and dark
When nobody wins afraid of losing
And the hard roads are the ones worth choosing
Some day we’ll look back and smile
And know it was worth every mile

It don’t matter to me
Wherever we are is where I wanna be
And, honey, for once in our life
Let’s take our chances and roll the dice
I can be your lucky penny
You can be my four-leaf clover
Starting over
Starting over

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.