It Won’t Be The Last (Billy Ray Cyrus) – Album Review

Billy Ray Cyrus' Second Disc Was Quite Successful But It Couldn't Match The Sales Of The Debut

Billy Ray Cyrus' Second Disc Was Quite Successful, Yet It Could not Match The Sideral Sales Of The Debut

“It Won’t Be The Last” was Billy Ray Cyrus’s second full-length album. It was released in the summer of 1993, shortly after his mega-successful debut had hit the shelves. I regard it as a major step forward. But it is not that the album is miles away from the previous one, it is just that it has gone the (relatively short) distance that would lead to a more balanced listen. The first time around it felt like the ballads and the rockers did not mesh. That problem was to be resolved by “It Won’t Be The Last”. The key word here is “focused”. There is a clear middle ground between ballads and rock numbers (such as the successful single “Words By Heart”), and the flow of the album feels more natural this time around.

The record has 11 tracks, and the first six are a true pleasure. The single “In The Heart Of Woman” was a foolproof way to set the disc in motion, and having it followed by one of the many Don Von Tress songs on offer (“Talk Some”) was the best way to keep the momentum going. Von Tress was to be the primary tunesmith for the album. That was only to be expected – he had penned “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Talk Some” is the best rocker he contributes to this record, in my opinion. The other rock number (“Ain’t Your Dog No More”) feels too overtly like an Achy Break Heart surrogate, and a forced one at that.

The first side also bears the beautiful “Somewhere New” (which in places lifts the melody from “Hopelessly Yours”), and the contagious “Only Time Will Tell”, a song that showcases Billy was making progresses when it came to songwriting. That is something that can also be said about “Throwing Stones” (which he penned on his own) and the title track (which he co-wrote). The previous time around he had co-written a couple of tracks with his wife – no offense to anybody, having professional writers is not the same. These songs make it all too evident.

“Words By Heart” is located in the middle of the album, and it actually worked pretty well as a single cut. The song has the kind of lyrics that Billy’s large female following absolutely adored, and it might as well be the most successfully measured performance he was to set to record. The accompanying video was also very suitable.

I don’t feel the remaining songs are as exciting as the ones that make up the first half of the disc, although a couple are real growers (the title track and “Right Face Wrong Time”). If anything, they showcase Billy’s development as a finer tunesmith. And the final cut is “When I’m Gone”, a number that has been written by Don Von Tress and Billy himself, and that has him in full balladeer mode, singing a quavering lyrics about abandonment and its aftermath over a sparse accompaniment and a gospelly backing. It works pretty efficiently for a change.

This album could not replicate the success of the previous one, even when it sold quite well. I don’t know how much of a surprise that was at the time. Had he landed another “Some Gave All” the story of the 90s would have had him as the main protagonist, and not just as someone who stole the stage for a moment, and shone like few could ever hope to shine. And he was to keep on pushing – the forthcoming albums were to be even better – “Trail Of Tears” (1996) in particular would be deemed as his most realized album by critics. Not many were listening by then, though. And not that many are listening now. Those who are just familiar with Billy’s most famous composition and the album it was circumscribed to should really hear the rest of the story. Giving his second album a spin is not only natural but also very rewarding. It certainly wasn’t the first good record he issued, and it wasn’t the last for sure.

Rating: 8/10

2 thoughts on “It Won’t Be The Last (Billy Ray Cyrus) – Album Review

  1. Pingback: Some Gave All (Billy Ray Cyrus) – Album Review | MusicKO

  2. Pingback: Billy Ray Cyrus – General Introduction | MusicKO

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