If I Die Young

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"If I Die Young"
Single by The Band Perry
from the album The Band Perry
Released June 7, 2010
(see release history)
Format Music download
Genre Country pop
Length 3:43 (Country album version/music video)
3:35 (Pop version/music video)
Label Republic Nashville
Writer(s) Kimberly Perry
Producer(s) Nathan Chapman
Paul Worley
The Band Perry singles chronology
"Hip to My Heart"
(2009)
"If I Die Young"
(2010)
"You Lie"
(2011)
Music video
"If I Die Young" at CMT.com

"If I Die Young" is a song written by Kimberly Perry, and recorded by American country music group The Band Perry. It was released in June 2010 as the second single from the group's self-titled debut album, which was released on October 12, 2010.

Content[edit]

"If I Die Young" is a mid-tempo tune accompanied by acoustic guitar, banjo, accordion, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, and drums. It is in the key of E Major. The song is about the sadness of dying young ("The sharp knife of a short life") as the narrator describes how she never really got to experience love and worrying about how her loved ones will miss her and deal with the loss. She recognizes that once someone passes away, others seem to pay more attention to that person's life in the lines, "And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin' / Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'." She states that if she dies young, then her family left behind should "save their tears" for a time when "they're really gonna need them." Kimberly states she has had a well-lived life in the line "Well, I've had just enough time."

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

Bobby Peacock of Roughstock spoke positively of the lyrics which were "very well-developed with interesting little details." He felt that although the topic is "a little sugarcoated," the vocal performance is a "pleasant listening experience."[1] Jim Malec of The 9513 gave the song a thumbs down, stating that while the "songwriting demonstrates a command of language and craft that allows her to construct thick, interesting lyrics," the result "is a series of exceedingly dark, loosely connected statements. The concept is murky, at best, and although many of the individual pieces are well drawn the whole is difficult to follow."[2]

The Band Perry received at least one letter in response to the song. In its envelope, the members also found a necklace with a ring on it.[3] The letter's author was a young girl who had recently lost her best friend to cancer. Mourning her friend's death, the girl was contemplating suicide. Driving from work one day, she heard "If I Die Young" on the radio. Hearing "so much life in the song," the girl changed her mind. In her letter to The Band Perry, she wrote about the necklace, "I’m sending this to you, because it's the most important thing I own. This song literally saved my life."[4]

Commercial[edit]

"If I Die Young" debuted at number 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of May 29, 2010. It also debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of July 24, 2010. In October 2010, it became the group's first Top 10 single on the country chart as well as their first Top 20 on the Hot 100. The song became their first Number One hit on the country charts for the week of December 11, 2010.

In early 2011, the song was remixed by Matt Ward and Dean Gillard for pop music radio. The remix debuted at number 36 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Songs and number 29 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for the week of June 11, 2011. With the remix impacting pop radio, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at number 46 for the week of June 25, 2011.[5] It has since reached a new peak of number 14.[6]

In May 2011, the song sold over 2 million copies, the eleventh country song to do so, and only the fourth time that a band reached this plateau, following Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band and Rascal Flatts.[7] The song was the highest-selling single to miss the top ten,[8] and as of January 2014, it has sold 4.74 million copies, making it the fourth best-selling country song in the US.[9]

In July 2011, the song reached the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 in its thirty-fifth chart week, making it the slowest climb into the Top 15. It broke the slowest climb record that was previously held by Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats", and Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar". Both songs took thirty-three weeks to reach the Top 15.[10] The song spent 53 weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and is their best selling single to date.

Music video[edit]

The music video, which was directed by David McClister, premiered on CMT on May 27, 2010.[11] In the video, the band is shown setting Kimberly Perry in a canoe before pushing it off into the river. Perry is holding a book containing poems by Tennyson, including The Lady of Shalott, which the book is opened to at the end of the music video. The video echoes a scene in Anne of Green Gables in which Anne attempts to appear as the Lady of the poem. Kimberly's mother and her love interest (played by Kyle Kupecky) are shown plucking flower petals and visibly depressed that she has left them. Eventually, her canoe begins to take on water,she sits up. Once this occurs her brothers come back for her. When she gets back to her house, her mother and love interest embrace her. The video was filmed on location at Two Rivers Mansion outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Throughout the video, the band is also shown performing with their instruments inside of the house.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2013, Naya Rivera performed the song as her character Santana Lopez in the fifth season tribute episode "The Quarterback" of the television series Glee, in honour of Cory Monteith, who played character Finn Hudson on the show. The song peaked at number eighty-eight on the UK Singles Chart.[12]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Anything Like Me"
by Brad Paisley
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

December 11, 2010
Succeeded by
"Why Wait"
by Rascal Flatts
Preceded by
"Rolling in the Deep"
by Adele
Billboard Adult Contemporary
number-one single

November 12, 2011 - November 26, 2011
Succeeded by
"Someone Like You"
by Adele

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2011 53rd Grammy Awards Best Country Song — "If I Die Young"[31] Nominated
Academy of Country Music Awards Single Record of the Year — "If I Die Young"[32] Nominated
Song of the Year — "If I Die Young"[32] Nominated
2011 Billboard Music Awards Top Country Song — "If I Die Young"[33] Nominated
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"[34] Nominated
Group Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"[34] Nominated
USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"[34] Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Country Single — "If I Die Young"[35] Nominated
Inspirational Country Music Awards Inspirational Video — "If I Die Young"[36] Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Single of the Year — "If I Die Young"[37] Won
Song of the Year — "If I Die Young"[37] Won
Music Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"[37] Nominated

Release history[edit]

Date Country Format
June 7, 2010 United States Country radio
May 24, 2011 Mainstream Top 40
February 24, 2012 United Kingdom Digital download

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bobby Peacock (May 23, 2010). "The Band Perry - "If I Die Young"". Roughstock. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ Jim Malec (May 26, 2010). "The Band Perry - "If I Die Young"". The 9513. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ Tom Roland (September 9, 2010). "The Band Perry Gets "Young" Memento". GAC. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ Josh Armstrong (October 7, 2010). "The Band Perry debuts self-titled album". KnowTheArtist.com. Retrieved January 11, 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Adele 'Rolling' Along Atop Hot 100, Jason Aldean & Nicki Minaj Reach Top 10". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ Grein, Paul (July 27, 2011). "Week Ending July 17, 2011. Songs: Bad Meets Bruno". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Week Ending May 29, 2011. Songs: He Was In It To Win It". new.music.yahoo.com. June 1, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ Grein, Paul (October 16, 2013). "Week Ending Oct. 13, 2013. Songs: A New #1 (For The Year)". Chart Watch. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Wade Jessen (January 6, 2014). "Florida Georgia Line's 'Cruise' Sets All-Time Country Sales Record". Billboard. 
  10. ^ "The Band Perry sets a mark for slowness". Country Standard Time. July 28, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 3011. 
  11. ^ "CMT : Videos : If I Die Young". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart UK Top 100 - 26th October 2013". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for The Band Perry. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  14. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: January 29, 2012 to February 04, 2012)". Gaon Chart. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for The Band Perry. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  18. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for The Band Perry. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  19. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for The Band Perry. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  20. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for The Band Perry. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  21. ^ "The Band Perry Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for The Band Perry. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  22. ^ "Canadian single certifications – The Band Perry – If I Die Young". Music Canada. 
  23. ^ "American single certifications – The Band Perry – If I Die Young". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  24. ^ "Best of 2010: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Best of 2010: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Best of 2011: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  27. ^ "Best of 2011: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Best of 2011: Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Best of 2011: Adult Contemporary Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Best of 2011: Adult Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ "2011 Grammy Nominations: Eminem Leads The Pack". MTV. 2 December 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  32. ^ a b "Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney lead ACM Award Nominations". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  33. ^ "2011 Billboard Music Awards Winners". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  34. ^ a b c "It's Jason Aldean's Kinda Party: Leads CMT Music Awards Nominations". Roughstock. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Teen Choice Award Nominees Named". Teen Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  36. ^ "2011 Inspirational Country Music Awards Winners Announced". A Taste of Country. Oct 31, 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  37. ^ a b c "CMT : News : Four Artists Tied as Top CMA Nominees". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 6, 2011.