50 Greatest City, State, And Town Songs – #7: “Little Rock” by Collin Raye
“Little Rock” by Collin Raye
Chart Peak: #1
City, State, or Town: Little Rock, Arkansas
Of the many powerful balled that have made Collin Raye a country music sensation, this is one of his most memorable. In a story of regret and redemption, Collin takes the persona of a man who has led a very questionable lifestyle and left it all behind, including the love of his life, to try and find a new way in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. To date this remains one of Collin’s biggest hits on radio and it tugs at the heartstrings with pure emotion and sincerity that only he can provide. In the end the man in the song find that despite his changes he is still not complete. Why, well let me explain.
The entire song is sung through the perspective of a man who was aware of his questionable lifestyle and hopes to change that through his traveling to the Arkansas city. The man seems to be speaking to his former girlfriend or wife, whether literally or figuratively, in hopes of making her understand. He states he needed a new town and a new start to help him solve his personal issues. Thus he bring us to his present life by introducing his job selling VCRs at the local Little Rock Wal-Mart. To continue he brings in all the ways in which he has improved his life. He explains he hasn’t drank in 19 days, a seemingly short time but a huge breakthrough for an alcoholic, and he shows how he’s become more faithful by expressing his enjoyment of the Church of Christ and its people. This is followed by a statement that reveals his longing for his firmer girl to understand. Whether he is on the phone or talking to no-one as a form of release he tries to apologize to her for crying the night before on the phone. This shows a continued sense of personal struggle that has ironically become a side effect to his attempts to solve his problems in life.
The second pair of verses has Collin’s character show even more regret and remorse for his inability to be with the girl he still loves. He explains how he can’t understand why he kept everything inside and shows how that fact had a hand in destroying their relationship with his fear that she doesn’t understand his feelings for her as much as she needs to. He also refers to her dad in a powerful recollection of his take on the breakup. His dad had told him that Jesus may forgive, but a girl’s father never forgets. This in itself haunts him, making him realize that his former life has not only lost him the girl of his dreams, but the trust of everyone connected to her. Collin then shows his characters breaking with the symbolism of a castle on the sand being used to represent the delicate condition of the couples relationship at the time it ended. In the end the man in the song reliazes that he let that castle crumble to the ground without trying to support it more.
The chorus takes all the frustration and torture that the man is feeling and lets it all out in his attempt of release. These line in the song make it even more questionable whether he is searching for redemption through a direct conversation with his former lover, or if he is shouting out what he wishes he could say with no-one around to here it. The man explains his progress using the common comparison between himself and a stone to show how dedicated he is to keeping his new lifestyle and how far he has come in his changes. He also expresses hope and faith that he will see his girl again telling her to “wait and see”. Finally he lets out a statement of the true conflict behind the song saying that although he has made all these changes and made himself a better person, without the girl of his dream that he had to leave behind he will never be himself again.
In his traditional fashion Collin uses a powerful and effective story to send a powerful and relative message to his country music listeners. Collin explores the cost of ones personal problems through a man who was forced to sacrifice the woman he loved in order to understand and ultimately change the issues that had destroyed him as a person. After an extended period of time the lyrics of this song take place with him either explaining this feelings to his ex directly or speaking to no-one in a form of emotional release, something that is never revealed and is left open for interpretation by the listener. In the end, Collin’s character is a changed man for the better, but he is forced to live with the regret and the cost that it took to reach this better person. Now that he has changed his ways in Little Rock, he must try to pick of the pieces of his shattered life and attempt to put them back together again.