Never Enough

Never Enough

Parker McCollum is one of a handful of poster boys for a kind of post-bro wave of country music, one that eschews the hip-hop beats and boozy bravado of the early and mid-2010s in favor of ’90s-influenced balladry and lyrical vulnerability. Like contemporaries Bailey Zimmerman and Zach Bryan, McCollum isn’t afraid of a drinking song. But where predecessors might focus on the party itself, McCollum is more interested in the hangover. As he did on previous album Gold Chain Cowboy, McCollum offers no shortage of ballads on his second major-label album, like the blues-tinged heartbreaker “Stoned” and the emotional “Things I Never Told You” (the only outside cut on the LP). McCollum tells Apple Music he was drawn to “Things I Never Told You”—written by Monty Criswell, Lynn Hutton, and Taylor Phillips—because it reminded him of his relationship with his mother. “Everybody's moved away from home at some point in their lives and had that feeling of wanting to go back,” he says. “And you probably didn't enjoy it when you actually had it good, that kind of thing. I'm always in that bubble in my mind, it seems—the nostalgic bubble.” It’s not all down and out and downtempo, though. McCollum balances the album with summery anthems and soft country rock, like the melodic “Best I Never Had” and the crunchy, catchy “Don’t Blame Me.” Producer Jon Randall (Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert) keeps things organic, building rootsy, gently gritty soundscapes to complement McCollum’s smooth, nimble voice. Below, McCollum shares insight into several key tracks. “Hurricane” “It's just so different from anything else I'd ever written or cut before. It's probably the closest thing to a fun song that I've ever had, which I was kind of wary of. I like to stick to what I do. But at the same time, I think that's what attracted me to it so much. But David Lee Murphy had written that chorus, came over to my house, and we sat around for about half an hour. And he played that chorus one time. I'm like, ‘Damn, I'll sing that all day.’ It's so fun. And I just don't have a lot of fun in my catalog.” “Things I Never Told You” “My buddy Taylor Phillips wrote that with Lynn Hutton and Monty Criswell. Taylor texted me about writing together, and I was kind of burnt out on writing. I was pretty much done with the record. I was getting close to it, and I said, ‘Man, I think I'm going to cut one outside song.’ And that was the very first song that came across the table. At one time, I really did have a secret compartment in the center console of my truck in high school where I would hide my dip. I have a great mom, and I'm not very good at writing songs about people, specifically one person. So I thought it was a cool thing to do for her. And it just so happens Mother's Day is the Sunday [after the album comes out], so it’s good timing for that one to be out. The song just hit home so much.” “Stoned” “It seems like when I write songs as simply as I possibly can, that's when they have the most success. And I don't know if that's coincidence or there's something to that. ‘Stoned’ is such a simple song. I had written, I think, the whole chorus and hook during COVID one night, just sitting on the couch. I think I was on Instagram Live playing acoustic guitar and just kind of spit that out. ‘I cry when it's raining, I cry when it's dark/I feel like the whole world will never understand my heart.’ I've been doing it long enough, I know [when I have something]. I knew when I was 15 years old if I sat down and picked up a guitar and sang something that was cool or different, I knew that it was worth chasing, and that was one of those.” “Lessons From an Old Man” “Again, I'm not great at writing songs about people, but we didn't write this song about my granddad until the last verse. [Co-writer] Lori McKenna let me take the reins on the last verse. And she had a great melody, so I just started to sing, kind of like I always do when I write on my own. I have a melody and just start spitting stuff out until something sounds cool or catches my ear. And it’s pretty cool to have that whole last verse just be so much about my granddad, who I was super close with and truly did learn so much from. It’s a cool way to honor him with the whole verse. Not to say that the whole song's not about him, but that last verse certainly painted a picture of him.” “Tough People Do” “When I thought of the idea to write, ‘Tough times don't last, tough people do,’ we wanted to go the ‘old man’ route, kind of like ‘Lessons From an Old Man’ was. And Jon Randall was the one who was like, ‘Man, what if it was a love song?’ I don't have a ton of those, about love going right. Not that this one was about it going right, but it is about trying to get it right. I was begging for something different and new and something to get excited about and thought the melody was so strong. Not that we were trying to write Vince Gill songs, but we were trying to write songs that Vince Gill would think were cool.” “Too Tight This Time” “Talk about simple song. It started with a guitar lick, and I played it over and over and over all weekend. We were just sitting around. Every time I picked up a guitar, I would play the same guitar lick. Jon Randall finally is like, ‘Are we going to do anything with that? You've been playing it for two days.’ But it sounded like a dream to me. That song feels and sounds like a dream, and I thought he knocked it out of the park with me explaining very terribly what I wanted it to be. Somehow, he always understands me, and it does sound and feel like you're in a dream. You're listening, and it's so simple and just so different than any other song, not only on the record but any song I've ever written.” “Wheel” “I had that [chorus] melody, which I've probably written 10 songs over before (and cut a few of them), but I had the melody and I was singing it over and over again. Jon had the idea for ‘Wheel,’ and when we got to about halfway through the song, I'm like, ‘Man, this just feels like goodbye. It feels like the end of something.’ Something is resolving without any resolution, if that makes sense. It's kind of a perpetual goodbye.”

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada