New Boots: Randall King

Listeners go for a ride through The Three Stages of Heartbreak


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King leans up against his loves truck in his music video for “She Gone.”

Mackenzie Gonzales, Cartoonist

The era of bro-country is beginning to fall apart and give way song by song. In its place stands the Texas country, red dirt country and neo-traditional 80’s and 90’s inspired country. For some strange reason the most recent trend in country music is country music. Many artists such as Luke Combs, Jon Pardi and Riley Green are slowly pushing the Florida Georgia Lines and Sam Hunts of the genre to the outskirts. West Texas native Randall King is one such artist taking the neo-traditional country route.

When King first began making music his influences were ‘80s and ‘90s artists such as Kieth Whitley and George Strait. The first EP King released was in 2016 self titled “Another Bullet.” This EP revolved about the cowboy lifestyle being a dying way of life. Then in 2018 his debut full album titled “Randall King” was released. This was done independently without the help of a record label. As of  Sept. 5, 2019, Warner Music Nashville had signed King to their label. This was a major step in the right direction for country music at the root of the problem: record labels.

In the wake of signing with a big name label King began working on his first project with them. The project was a series of three singles described to be The Three Stages of Heartbreak: The Breakup, The Meltdown, Acceptance.

Stage One: The Breakup

The first part to every heartache is the oh-so fearful breakup that no one wants to go through. This is the leaving stage where one says goodbye and the other is left not wanting to give up on the relationship. King depicts this stage in “She Gone” which was released on Nov. 15, 2019.

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“She Gone” features country singer King looking off into the distance watching his love drive away.

“She Gone” isn’t the average slow sad breakup song but rather an upbeat, fast tempo song. Within the opening verse King wakes up to the sound of her truck leaving and gravel flying. When he realized what was happening he stumbles out of bed to the door hoping he can stop her. The lines “she had her window down, and her finger up” and the first line in the chorus “Should’ve seen the bright red goodbye lipstick writing that was on the wall” show this was a breakup coming for a while, but King had no idea it was coming. In the second verse we learn the words she wrote were “No turning back, no second chance/What’s done is done.” When King sees these words he thinks back to see if she’d ever said he was doing anything wrong and if she had he would’ve cleaned up his act. But, he can’t think of anything leaving him to wonder. To add salt to the wound she even took his dog in the lines “She came, she loved/She took off in a rush/Even had my dog in the back of her truck.” The outro is pretty funny when it comes to the song since King ends it talking about how he’d had the dog for seven years and that the pooch’s tail was wagging. The last line in the song is “Hell, I’d’a been glad to go too,” proving that he was in no way ready for this breakup.

I enjoy the story telling of this song alone. We feel the break from the realization of her leaving to the words she wrote and the taking of the dog. 

Since these songs are singles yet part of a whole I will rate them both individually and as a whole. With that being said “She Gone” earns a 5/5 and a spot on my playlist.

Stage Two: The Meltdown

With the meltdown stage comes the realization that it’s really over and the damn-you-for-leaving attitude. This stage is seen in “Burn it at Both Ends” which was released Dec. 12, 2019.

This is a lot slower than “She Gone.” Instead of the adrenaline amongst the confusion of her leaving, King is in the bitter realization stage. He hates that she left and plans to both drown and burn

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“Burn it at Both Ends” features King sitting at a bar with embers drifting past him as he both drowns and burns his loves memory while nursing his heartache.

her memory. This is evident in the chorus with the lines “‘Cause I want everything about you/Goin’ up in smoke/I’m gonna douse it down with whiskey/Tonight I’m lightin’ up your memory/Like it’s love’s last cigarette.” To make maters worse at the end of the chorus there’s a part of the line that says “to seein’ you with him.” Like damn talk about adding salt to the wound; while he’s still trying to get over her, she’s showing up to the same places with someone new.

Traditionally with most country music this is the typical heartbreak song. This is the anger of being left. “Burn it at Both Ends” earns a 4/5.

Stage Three: Acceptance  

The acceptance stage is where you can see that someone out in the world and not be angry or sad. This is the time where you know you’re both onto bigger and better things.

King uses “Hey Cowgirl” for this stage. The song was released Jan. 22, 2020.

Within the first verse, King sees her and compliments her on how she’s looking and asks her where she’s been and where she’s going as a way to catch up. He tells her “You’ll always be the queen of that rodeo crowd/What every cowboy lives dreaming about/They love the way you shine/Give anything to hold you tight/But they know they’ll never get that chance somehow.” In a way, King is telling her that’s how he’ll always see her despite the hurt she put

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“Hey Cowgirl” depicts King seeing his former love out in public and catching up with her as if she’d never hurt him.

him through. He then asks if there’s still someone new or if they like him are “still waitin’ on that call on the phone/That ain’t comin’ ‘cause you’re still runnin’?” This implies that maybe even she is running from love. At the very end of the song King says “Hey Cowgirl, I bet you got a long drive/Well, good luck and goodbye.” This is the real part of the acceptance. He has finally let her go and is at peace with everything.

“Hey Cowgirl” was the best ending to the project. It was most simple of the three songs too. I would give “Hey Cowgirl” a 5/5. 

As a whole this was a really unique project. Generally most country songs focus on the heartbreak stage or the falling in love stage. This is the first time I have seen anyone go through each stage of heartache. Overall, I would give the project a 5/5.