Songs That Should’ve Been Singles: Brett Eldredge

What's your favorite Brett Eldredge album cut?

Written by Jeremy Chua
Songs That Should’ve Been Singles: Brett Eldredge
Brett Eldredge; Photo credit: Greg Noire

Since hitting the country music scene in 2010 with his touching debut single, “Raymond,” Brett Eldredge has churned out a number of massive radio hits. On his debut album alone, the Illinois native scored three No.1 singles: “Don’t Ya,” “Beat of the Music,” and “Mean to Me.”

As Eldredge gears up to release his first album in nearly three years this July, Sounds Like Nashville is looking back over his entire catalogue of music to find a selection of songs that may have not made it to the radio airwaves, but deserve to be highlighted.

Sunday Drive, featuring “Gabrielle,” is out July 10, 2020.

“One Mississippi” — from Bring You Back

Easily a fan favorite, “One Mississippi,” is an impeccable ballad through and through. The tear in Eldredge’s crooning voice is accompanied by keys, harmonies and a soft acoustic guitar in the background. Huge Brett fans will probably have this as one of their favorites, too. Heartache and wistfulness are some of the raw emotions this tune ignites. A must-listen for all country music fans that appreciate a good storytelling song. Key Lyric? “And I know everybody’s got their demons / Everybody’s got their reasons / Why they leave when they run.” Ouch.

“On and On” — from Bring You Back

This song is just a groovy little love song that will have the phrase and title “On and On” stuck in anyone’s head, on and on and “all day long.” It would undeniably serve as the perfect jam to cruise down the road to, and feel the soft, crisp summer breeze. “Everything we’re saying has already been said, politics and weather / Well I’m out / But when someone brings you up, there ain’t no shuttin’ my mouth / I go on and on,” Eldredge sings, clearly smitten by love.

“Gotta Get There” — from Bring You Back

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and no distance is too far for love– that’s what “Gotta Get There” is all about. A fun, love-fuelled bop, this is a nice feel-good song. Even if “it’s a long way from here to California,” there’s no stopping the singer from meeting his lover ASAP because, he’s thinking, “All I know is you’re not here / And all that means is I’ve gotta get there.

“Go On Without Me” — from Bring You Back

“Go On Without Me”  is a hopeful song that offers encouragement to anyone who is grieving the loss and pain of losing a loved one. While the idea is deemed a topic ‘too heavy’ for radio, Eldredge delivers the mid-tempo song with optimism that will light a smile on the face of anyone listening. But outside of that, this song means something very, very special to the singer. It was a gift to his late radio rep who had passed when the label was planning his debut album’s roll out. “When we had the meeting for this album, we talked about this song. Lindsay Walleman at Warner Brothers had just passed. She was 28, and a close friend of mine,” the singer told Billboard in a 2013 interview. “It was so hard for me to see someone with such a larger than life personality leave this place. But, she was the kind of person that wouldn’t want you to feel down about it. When the label heard this song, they agreed that we were finishing the album with it.” 

“You Can’t Stop Me” (feat. Thomas Rhett) — from Illinois 

Disco-pop lovin’ fans or anyone wanting a groovy little jam, check this collab out. The second track off Eldredge’s sophomore record, “You Can’t Stop Me” would have fit right in to radio, especially when it features country superstar Thomas Rhett trading verses and adding fuel to the high-energy uptempo song. But, also because it features an act from another label, promotional efforts might have been trickier, amongst many other factors. That said, this song is still a fun tune that essentially carries a PG version of the ‘kiss my a**’ message. After all, what Rhett and Eldredge sing in the chorus might just be that perfect one-liner tell-off to party-poopers: “Sit back, just watch, you’ll see / You can try but you can’t stop me / You can’t stop me.”

“Time Well Spent” — from Illinois

Why this song never made the cut as a single is still behooving. Tempo? Check. Catchy hook? Check. Under four minutes? Check. “Time Well Spent” is an instant feel-good anthem that will get those feet tapping, head bopping and really, the entire body moving. All about letting go of productivity and plans, this tune preaches the essentiality of unplugging from the grind: “wasted time is Time Well Spent.” Ain’t that the truth?

“The Reason” — from Brett Eldredge

This romantic mid-tempo ballad finds Eldredge pouring his broken heart out as he wishes for the company of an old flame. And this ex-lover, to the singer, is “the only one person in this world that can save me from myself.” “Saying the reason I called you drunk / Is I need your love so bad, so bad it hurts / Baby, it’s worth saying the reason I stay messed up / Is I need your love so bad, so bad,” Eldredge sings sorrowfully. 

“Castaway” — from Brett Eldredge

This list started with a ballad and fan favorite, and it’s wrapping up the same way. “Castaway” is a heart-wrenching poignant tune that closes Eldredge’s self-titled record. With the singer’s stunning vocals and just a soft acoustic guitar at the forefront, this song proves how sometimes less is more in the production sphere. “So why do I / Always try / To run away from you? / Please don’t say / A castaway Is what I was born to do / I guess I’ll always be lost without you,” Eldredge sings tenderly. Yes, it’s just three minutes long, but perhaps the bare instrumentation and slow tempo never gave the track a fighting chance as a radio single contender. Nevertheless, “Castaway” will continue to be another fan-favorite and album cut gem.