Letter to Me

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"Letter to Me"
Single by Brad Paisley
from the album 5th Gear
Released October 22, 2007
Format CD single
Recorded 2007
Genre Country
Length 4:41
Label Arista Nashville
Writer(s) Brad Paisley
Producer(s) Frank Rogers
Brad Paisley singles chronology
"Online"
(2007)
"Letter to Me"
(2007)
"I'm Still a Guy"
(2008)

"Letter to Me" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Brad Paisley. It was released in October 2007 as the third single from his album 5th Gear. The song spent four weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in February 2008, becoming his sixth consecutive Number One on that chart,[1] as well as his tenth overall.

The song is part of the tracklist for Now That's What I Call Country.

Inspiration[edit]

Paisley was inspired to write "Letter to Me" after his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, was asked in 2007 to write for a book entitled What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self. Upon hearing of the book, he thought that the concept of writing a letter to his younger self would be a good idea for a country song.[1] According to him, it took most of a week to write the song, as he would constantly change the lyrics and write a new letter every day.[1]

Content[edit]

In "Letter to Me," the song's narrator is an adult who is reflecting on his youth. Now older and wiser for having lived various teen-aged experiences, the narrator uses experiences he had as a teenager to give his more youthful self advice on dealing with various situations.

Among the experiences are: dealing with the trauma of breaking up with a steady girlfriend after several months, breaking the habit of reckless driving and missing a much-anticipated homecoming bonfire rally to improve a failing algebra grade. The adult also guides his teen-aged self through dealing with older and wiser people, such as his family and teachers.

Other situations are more light-hearted, such as a first-date experience with the right girl. After a teaser about how good his wife and children look, the narrator gives his teen-aged self some final words about how the best years of his life lie ahead and that he now regrets he did not study Spanish and typing, finally noting, "I wish you wouldn't worry, let it be."

The song references many aspects of Paisley's childhood such as the corner of "Tomlinson and Eighth," two streets in his hometown of Glen Dale, West Virginia. Mrs. Brinkman, whose name is mentioned in the song, was a teacher at John Marshall High School in Glen Dale until her retirement in 2007.

At the 51st Grammy Awards, Paisley won Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "Letter to Me."

Reception[edit]

Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, gave it a A- rating. Coyne says that it is "appropriate that in a letter to himself at a younger age where he reveals how much greatness he has ahead of him, Paisley proves his adult self is telling the truth about all of his personal strengths."

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Jim Shea, was shot at his high school, John Marshall, in Glen Dale, W.V. The video is used as a homecoming and features many of his former classmates and teachers. In the end after the song is done, there is a short outro of footage of Brad being given a crown during a school assembly in 1991. This scene was not home footage. It was shot in present day, with an actor playing a younger Brad. Brad has called this video, "The most personal video I've ever done." He also says that this is his favorite video of his own.

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2007–2008) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[2] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 40
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 25

Sales and certifications[edit]

Country Provider Certification Sales
United States RIAA Gold [6] 500,000+

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Our Song"
by Taylor Swift
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

February 2-February 23, 2008
Succeeded by
"Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)"
by Rodney Atkins
Preceded by
Stupid Boy
by Keith Urban
Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance
2009
Succeeded by
Sweet Thing
by Keith Urban