Clint Black: Killin’ Time

ON THIS DATE (23 YEARS AGO)
May 2, 1989 – Clint Black: Killin’ Time is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Killin’ Time is the debut album by Clint Black, released on this date in May, 1989. The album, buoyed by the chart-topping success of its first four singles, was a huge hit upon its release, and established Black as one of the biggest new stars in country music. The album is currently certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
“A Better Man”, “Nothing’s News”, “Walking Away”, “Nobody’s Home”, and “Killin’ Time” were all huge hit songs. All of these except “Nothing’s News” reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart, while “Nothing’s News” reached #3. In addition, “A Better Man” and “Nobody’s Home” were declared the Number One songs of 1989 and 1990, respectively, according to Billboard.
One of the most self-assured country music debuts ever, Clint Killin’ Time is a watershed of the “new country” movement. Featuring five Number One hits, Killin’ Time introduced a country rarity: the artist as a whole package. Black could sing like Merle Haggard, write songs like James Taylor, and he was easy on the eyes, too.
But it was Black’s songwriting that made Killin’ Time a success–he wrote or co-wrote every song, something practically unheard of back in 1989. Even more amazingly, every track’s a winner–even a ditty like “Straight From the Factory” sparkles with Black’s clever wordplay and enthusiastic delivery. Though he was only 27 when Killin’ Time was released, Black’s world-weary tone on songs such as “Live & Learn” and the brilliant “Nothing’s News” are completely convincing, and hopelessness and heartbreak have rarely been better expressed than in “Nobody’s Home” and “Killin’ Time.” But the freshness of Black’s songwriting really shines in “A Better Man.” In describing how a busted relationship has left the singer, not an emotional wreck, but a better human being, Black’s modern twist on a classic theme kick-started the “new country” sound.
REVIEW
By Westley, amazon
Clint’s debut was a huge breakout hit (selling over 3 million copies to date) and still sounds fantastic today. Some of his all-time best songs are here, and the CD yielded four #1 country songs – “A Better Man” (1 week), “Killin’ Time” (1 week), “Nobody’s Home” (3 weeks), and “Walkin’ Away” (2 weeks). In addition, “Nothing’s News” went to #3; however, every song on the CD sounds like it could have been a hit. Clint’s voice sounds terrific, and the sound is classic country replete with twangy guitars and steel bass. His voice was initially compared to Merle Haggard, although he also developed his own style right off the bat. In fact, “A Better Man” made history as the first debut single in 13 years to hit #1, since Freddy Fender with “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.”
What I admire most is that the collection is remarkably cohesive and the songs flow together so well. At the same time, a variety of styles are represented, including the playful honky-tonk of “Straight from the Factory,” the bluesy “Nothing’s News,” and the danceable “A Better Man.” I still frequently listen to this collection, although I rarely listen to Clint’s other CDs. Unfortunately, the “Killin’ Time” CD is so great that it somewhat overshadowed his subsequent releases, but just sit back and enjoy some great country music. Most highly recommended.
TRACKS:
All songs written by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas, except where noted.
“Straight from the Factory” – 2:18
“A Better Man” – 3:03
“Nobody’s Home” (Black) – 3:29
“Walkin’ Away” (Black, Nicholas, Dick Gay) – 2:47
“You’re Gonna Leave Me Again” – 3:43
“I’ll Be Gone” – 2:28
“Nothing’s News” (Black) – 3:02
“Winding Down” (Black) – 3:38
“Killin’ Time” – 2:48
“Live and Learn” (Black) – 3:14
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