Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: September 2nd 2022 [The Last Time] / February 24th 2023 [The Thing That Wrecks You]
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Tenille Townes – The Last Time (Single) (Amazon mp3/iTunes) / The Thing That Wrecks You (feat. Bryan Adams) (Single) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- The Last Time
- The Thing That Wrecks You (feat. Bryan Adams)
Canadian musicians, especially Canadian country artists, have thrived for quite some time recently. Artists like Shania Twain, Lindsay Ell, Jess Moskaluke, K.D. Lang, Meghan Patrick and Tenille Arts have all had varying degrees of success in both the Canadian and American markets of late, and further extending to just Canadian artists in general, artists like Drake, The Weeknd, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Shawn Mendes, Carly Rae Jepsen, Michael Buble, Matt Maher, Marc Martel and The City Harmonic, are just some of the many Canadians who have been in circulation in music for quite some time over the last decade or two. So it comes to no surprise that rising country superstar and powerful vocalist, Tenille Townes, also comes from Canada. In fact, her rise to the top has been so exponential and instrumental, that she’s been recognised for various Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs) and Juno Awards within the last few years. Her 2020 album The Lemonade Stand was a critical success, we as a site even reviewed the album here. Birthing singles like ‘Somebody’s Daughter’, ‘Jersey On the Wall’ and ‘When I Meet My Maker’, Tenille’s trademark voice and her enthusiastic passion had made The Lemonade Stand one of 2020’s most unique albums, and one of the best kept secrets (album-wise) for that particular year. 2021 then came around, and we saw Tenille continue to deliver powerful hit singles- for upon the heels of her powerful and emotive July 2021 radio single ‘Girl Who Didn’t Care’, alongside her vulnerable and emotive ‘Villain in Me’ and her relatable and compelling ‘When’s It Gonna Happen?’, came her follow-up project after The Lemonade Stand– Masquerades, a 7 track collection of songs inclusive of the emotive hits ‘Villain in Me’ and ‘When’s It Gonna Happen’; of which we as a site, reviewed here. Masquerades was as heartfelt as they came, with standout songs like ‘Villain in Me’ and ‘When’s It Gonna Happen?’ anchoring the EP both musically and thematically. Following along from Tenille’s emotive and compelling 2022 EP, we see Tenille offer us more musical offerings, this time in the form of two singles- ‘The Last Time’ and ‘The Thing That Wrecks You’.
Released in September 2022, ‘The Last Time’ is in fact one of my favourite songs of last year- emotive and heartfelt, challenging and even at times sobering, as we see a melody that is as catchy as it is deep and meaningful. A song that challenges us to live in the moment and to really treasure and cherish the times we have with each other (because we’ll never know when the last time would be, that we would have with each other, until it actually happens, and we’ll know it through hindsight and history); ‘The Last Time’ can hopefully bring us to this sense and realisation, that relationships ought to be the focus for people, rather than things and materialism. So much in today’s society is surrounded by instant gratification, and how many ‘friends’ we have in an online sense. Rarely do the current generation of today (Gen Z), and maybe even previous generations (millennial, and maybe even some Gen X-ers), stop and think, maybe even ponder, and wonder as well- are all these ‘friends’ going to count for something in the end, or shall I invest in face-to-face friendships instead? Sure, the song itself is an ode to friendship and relationship in a more meaningful and tangible sense, the song can also be a reminder to enjoy the moments of today before there’re gone tomorrow. I remember how in my childhood, we had video stores, cassette tapes, DVD players, even Nintendo 64, not that much internet (not that it mattered when we were younger anyway), as well as actual CD stores as well. Things have changed in 20 years, and it’s easy to take for granted the things of yesteryear. ‘The Last Time’ encourages us to never lose sight of what we had when we grew up (or even what we have now)…because with the advent of ChatGPT and the increase in AI-generated _____, the world will change dramatically and drastically before we know it. As Tenille herself puts it, ‘…we always remember the first time something happens. We put it in a certain frame in our mind because we know it’s special. But the last time often doesn’t get the same frame because we don’t know that it’s happened until it’s already a part of our past. I wanted to write a song that captured that sentimental reality, with nostalgia in the fabric of the music. This song reminds me to stop and take in the moments that are happening right now, and I hope it feels like a comforting reminder to anybody else who needs it too…’
Originally recorded by country trio Lady A (with additional vocals by country powerhouse group Little Big Town) on Lady A’s album Ocean, ‘The Thing That Wrecks You’ was known since 2019, and reminded us through Hillary and Charles’s recording, that sometimes in someone’s life, in order for them to learn the lessons they are supposed to, they need to travel through the ‘thing that wrecks you’, across to the other side, so that they can have a sense of understanding and perspective that they may not have had, if they would’ve bypassed this ‘thing’ that they so badly didn’t want to experience in the first place. Tenille’s version of the song released in February 2023, where she herself delivers a duet, just like Lady A and Little Big Town’s version all those years ago- singing together with Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams; this song is sure to bring in fans of both Tenille, Bryan, country music and rock music simultaneously. The song itself is one to ponder and savour, as Tenille shares that the idea of the song, came from a friend of hers, who was stuck in a toxic relationship that she felt difficult to break away from, leaving Tenille herself worried and concerned for her friend. As Tenille relays herself, ‘…I sat back and thought about it what it means to be human. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you this is not good for you, or how much you know yourself. Sometimes to get to the other side, you just have to go right through it. I wanted to write a song that felt like it could sit beside somebody in that spot and be a bit of a comfort in that really hard place…’
So, there you have it, ‘The Last Time’ and ‘The Thing That Wrecks You’. 2 songs of vulnerability. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s this observation that I’ve seen in music recently- that vulnerability, humility, heartfelt moments of hope and encouragement, and a sense of storytelling, is seemingly the most seen within country music, but seems to lack a lot in various other musical genres, namely pop and CCM. Sure, there are artists within pop and CCM that convey deep and meaningful music (Ed Sheeran, for KING & COUNTRY, Casting Crowns, Bryan Adams, Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot, Echosmith, Mandy Harvey, Tenth Avenue North, needtobreathe, Skillet, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and Lifehouse, to name a few), but all in all, pop and CCM (in its current state) isn’t that well known now for music that is poignant and heartfelt. So, it’s great to hear songs by Tenille that portray vulnerability in a favourable light, because it is. Being vulnerable means being relatable to the listeners and audience that you have. Something relatable means something impactful, and maybe even influential, to someone’s life. And over the years, Tenille has become just that- influential. Her music of late has crept into people’s homes and impacted people’s lives, and while she unfortunately misses out on the top 50 impactful and influential artists of now and the upcoming years ahead (but does receive an honourable mention though); the fact of the matter still remains. That Tenille’s work still strikes a chord with listeners, and these two songs are no different. Well done Tenille for ‘The Last Time’ and ‘The Thing That Wrecks You’. Looking forward to seeing how God uses these melodies, in the upcoming months ahead.
RIYL: Tenille Arts, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Mickey Guyton, The Shires