• Caleb Long

Tim McGraw Stretches the Bounds of a "Single" with "Neon Church"


It has been just shy of three years since Tim McGraw has come out with new music as a solo artist. At the beginning of October he finally gave his fans something new to enjoy, and he did not disappoint. This soulful single, entitled “Neon Church,” strongly leans pop or even CCM with its production, featuring a tasteful and tender use of synth to back up a lead guitar line and minimalist percussion in the verse. After setting up the musical and emotional scene, it explodes into the chorus with strong bass, full drum kit, background vocals, and of course McGraw’s soaring tenor vocals that he has maintained so well over the years. This type of production is perfect for the lyric, which tells the story of a man seeking a kind of spiritual healing from the pain of lost love in the form of bellying up to a bar. As compelling as “Neon Church” is alone, the song that comes after takes the story to a different level. Yes, the “single” is two songs.

Fast forward ten years from the time the singer is needing a Neon Church, and you find yourself

inside the second song of the release, “Thought About You”. Though the instrumentation is distinct from “Neon Church,” this section of the single starts with a similar sentimental synth feel that allows it to establish a sense of continuity. It’s unclear as to whether the “Johnny Walker healing” spoken about in “Neon Church” does what the broken hearted storyteller hopes it will, but if we listen to the two-song-single as one, we do know that it’s affects don’t last forever. In “Thought About You,” we are shown that the memory of the woman that walked away has all but faded in the mind of the singer, as he finds reasons to think about her in just about everything he encounters.

“I love that there are no rules anymore and I can give fans more music at once," remarks Tim McGraw to Billboard about the two song single release, and this mentality has proven to be musically and artistically lucrative if nothing else. McGraw has not said to the media that the two songs are meant to be thematically paired; but whether it was an intentional stroke of genius or a beautiful accident, “Neon Church” and “Thought About You” are two fantastic songs that are even stronger together, and this “single” is a W in the books for Tim McGraw.


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