About The Song

Background

  • Release and Authorship: “Killin’ Time” was co-written by Black and Hayden Nicholas and released in July 1989. It served as the second single from Black’s debut album of the same name.
  • Country Music Landscape: The late 1980s were a time of transition in country music. The “Urban Cowboy” craze of the early 80s had faded, and a new generation of artists, often called “neotraditionalists,” were reviving the sounds and themes of classic country. Clint Black, along with artists like Randy Travis and George Strait, were at the forefront of this movement.

Musical Style

  • Neotraditional Country: “Killin’ Time” embodies the characteristics of neotraditional country music. It features a prominent steel guitar, a driving backbeat with a strong emphasis on the snare drum, and Black’s distinctive, baritone vocals. The overall sound is reminiscent of classic country artists like Merle Haggard and George Jones, with a modern production sheen.
  • Western Swing Influences: Some music critics also detect elements of Western swing in “Killin’ Time.” This subgenre, popular in the 1930s and 40s, incorporated elements of jazz and blues into traditional country music, resulting in a more upbeat and danceable sound. The prominent fiddle work in the song’s bridge hints at this influence.
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Lyrics

  • Lost Love and Despair: The lyrics of “Killin’ Time” tell the story of a heartbroken man drowning his sorrows in alcohol. The narrator is haunted by the memory of a lost love and feels powerless to move on. Lines like “You were the first thing that I thought of / When I thought I drank you off my mind” and “There’s an end to all my sorrow / This is the only price I’ll pay” showcase the narrator’s despair.
  • Self-Destruction and Mortality: The act of “killin’ time” takes on a double meaning in the song. On the surface, it refers to the narrator’s numbing routine of drinking. However, the chorus foreshadows a more dangerous consequence: “This killin’ time is killin’ me / Drinkin’ myself blind, thinkin’ I won’t see / That if I cross that line and they bury me / Well I just might find I’ll be killin’ time for eternity.” The narrator acknowledges the self-destructive nature of his actions and hints at a potential reckoning.

Cultural Impact

  • Chart Success and Awards: “Killin’ Time” was a major commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It was also the number two song of 1989 on the year-end chart, bested only by another Clint Black single, “A Better Man.” The song’s success helped propel Black to stardom and played a significant role in him winning the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1989.
  • Enduring Legacy: “Killin’ Time” remains a staple of country radio and a beloved song among fans. It has been covered by numerous artists and continues to be a go-to track for fans of neotraditional country music. The song’s exploration of universal themes of heartbreak and self-destruction ensures its continued relevance for listeners.
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Conclusion

“Killin’ Time” is more than just a catchy country tune. It’s a song that captured the essence of neotraditional country music while offering a relatable story of loss and despair. Clint Black’s masterful vocals and the song’s well-crafted lyrics resonated with audiences, making it a cornerstone of his early career and a lasting contribution to the country music landscape. The song’s enduring popularity serves as a testament to its power to connect with listeners on a deep emotional level.

Video

Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
You were the first thing that I thought ofWhen I thought I drank you off my mindWhen I get lost in the liquorYou’re the only one I findAnd if I did the things I oughtaYou still would not be mineSo I’ll keep a tight grip on the bottleGettin’ loose and killin’ time
This killin’ time is killin’ meDrinking myself blind thinkin’ I won’t seeNot if I cross that line and they bury meWell, I just might find I’ll be killin’ time for eternity
I don’t know nothin’ ’bout tomorrowI’ve been lost in yesterdayI’ve spent all my life just dyingFor a love that passed awayThere’s an end to all my sorrowThis is the only price I’ll payI’ll be a happy man when I goAnd I can’t wait another day
This killin’ time is killin’ meDrinking myself blind thinkin’ I won’t seeNot if I cross that line and they bury meWell, I just might find I’ll be killin’ time for eternity
Yes, I just might find I’ll be killin’ time for eternity

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