Album - Cody Johnson - Leather
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‘Double Down’ by Cody Johnson - Lyrics & Meaning

November 3, 2023 12:01 am GMT
Last Edited December 18, 2023 9:36 pm GMT

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Cody Johnson - ‘Double Down’

Label: CoJo Music / Warner Music Nashville

Release Date: November 3rd 2023

Album: Leather

Producers: Trent Willmon

Songwriters: Jeff Hyde, Adam James & Clint Daniels

The Background:

Unlike lead singles such as ‘The Painter’, ‘That's Texas’, ‘Watching My Old Flame’ and ‘Work Boots’, the brooding, emphatic ‘Double Down’ was held back until the release of the entire album.

When the first instalment of Leather dropped on November 3rd, ‘Double Down’ slipped under the radar due to spotlight being taken by Cody Johnson's blockbuster collaborations with Jelly Roll (‘Whiskey Bent’) and Brooks & Dunn (‘Long Live Country Music’).

However, the fiery, uptempo ‘Double Down’ is sure to become a highlight of Cody Johnson's famously high-octane setlist as he gears up for his eagerly awaited 2024 Leather tour.

With ‘Double Down’ emerging from the well-decorated pens of Jeff Hyde, Adam James and Clint Daniels, it pivots around a soaring arena-sized hook and a witty turn-of-phrase, with the Leather stand-out undoubtedly due to become a fan-favourite before too long.

The Sound:

Cody Johnson employs his weighty, charismatic baritone to great effect on ‘Double Down’, with the ‘Til You Can't’ hitmaker injecting layers of agony and heartbreak into every line, showcasing why the Texan singer-songwriter has established himself as one of country music's primary entertainers over the past few years.

For the opening of ‘Double Down’, the dramatic thud of the drums and the ominous, ethereal twang of the opening guitar is given plenty of space to breathe, before Cody Johnson begins his verse by mirroring the melody of the instrumental.

The energy levels are cranked up for the ferocious hook, with Cody Johnson seamlessly upping the ante with his vocal delivery, before a tempestuous guitar solo keeps the intensity sky-high as ‘Double Down’ charges towards its conclusion.

The Meaning:

“This hole in the wall

Is my ace in the hole

I take it on the rocks

And I get on a roll”

The curtain opens on Cody Johnson in the age-old country protagonist's stomping ground: a run-down dive bar, drowning his sorrows in the depths of a double whiskey on ice.

The first two lyrics cleverly include a play on the word ‘hole’, with Cody referencing a ‘hole in the wall’ before spinning that around to describe the bar as his ‘ace in the hole’.

Following this, we get a playful nod to the phrase ‘rock and roll’, as CoJo outlines how, once he's had his much-needed whiskey on the rocks, that's all it takes for him to get on a roll.

“Love’s a losing game

Since you dealt the cards

I’ve come to know this hand

Like the back of this bar

And in the back of this bar”

He extends the ‘ace in the hole’ metaphor with a range of card-themed imagery, with the crowning glory being the line, “I've come to know this hand / Like the back of this bar”, which flips the classic expression, “I know this bar like the back of my hand”.

Inventively, Cody Johnson is instead sharing how he knows the heartbroken hand of cards he's been dealt all too well, implying that he's lost his fair share of lovers in the past.

“I double down on the missin’ you

On the wishin’ you were still here with me

I double down callin’ off all bets, what I can’t forget how I let the whiskey drown

Cause your memory hangs around

Until I get a double down”

Cody Johnson launches into the infectious, earworm of a chorus by underlining his intentions to lean into his heartbreak and wallow in the anguish he's currently experiencing.

He makes his point through the clever use of the phrase ‘double-down’, which usually means to fully embrace something. Yet in this context, it also conceals the deeper meaning that CoJo is drinking double-shots of whiskey in order to numb the pain.

“You’re in every song

I can’t turn it down

Cause I see you in every face

Of this honky tonk crowd”

Cody Johnson proceeds to explain that the memory of his ex-lover haunts him wherever he goes, with the song's protagonist viscerally describing how he hears her in each song he listens to and every concert audience he ends up being a part of.

“One sip at a time

I make it disappear

It’s gonna take a little more

Than just an ice cold beer”

The lead character concludes the second verse by laying out his roadmap for getting over his ex, with our protagonist stressing that his level of pain and heartbreak will require something a little stronger and a little higher up on the shelf than a mere beer.

What has Cody Johnson said about ‘Double Down’?

While speaking to KMLE Country 107.9 backstage at Country Thunder Arizona 2023, Cody Johnson stressed how he was keen to make Leather noticeably more ‘fun’ than previous projects.

He explained that this applies to each song on the record, even the stormy break-up anthems like ’Double Down’, “I think the theme of this new album is ‘fun’, it doesn't matter whether it's a ballad or whether it's tongue-in-cheek...it all has to be fun, it all needs to make you kind of want to move around and bob your head a little bit”.

For the full lyrics to Cody Johnson's ‘Double Down’, see below:

“This hole in the wall

Is my ace in the hole

I take it on the rocks

And I get on a roll

Love’s a losing game

Since you dealt the cards

I’ve come to know this hand

Like the back of this bar

And in the back of this bar

I double down on the missin’ you

On the wishin’ you were still here with me

I double down callin’ off all bets, what I can’t forget how I let the whiskey drown

Cause your memory hangs around

Until I get a double down

You’re in every song

I can’t turn it down

Cause I see you in every face

Of this honky tonk crowd

One sip at a time

I make it disappear

It’s gonna take a little more

Than just an ice cold beer

So I double down on the missin’ you

On the wishin’ you were still here with me

I double down callin’ off all bets, what I can’t forget how I let the whiskey drown

Cause your memory hangs around

Until I get a double down

Yeah I double down

One shot won’t do

Better make it two, bartender hit me

I Double down callin’ off all bets, what I can't forget how I let the whiskey drown

Cause your memory hangs around

Until I get a double down

Til I get a double down”

For more on Cody Johnson, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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