Kenny Chesney BORN Cover Art
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‘The Way I Love You Now’ by Kenny Chesney - Lyrics & Meaning

March 22, 2024 6:27 pm GMT

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Kenny Chesney - ‘The Way I Love You Now’

Label: Blue Chair Records / Warner Music Nashville

Release Date: March 15th 2024

Album: BORN

Producers: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney

Songwriters: Kenny Chesney & Mike Reid

The Background:

Throughout his eagerly awaited 2024 album, BORN, Kenny Chesney explores a kaleidoscopic range of emotions, themes and textures. ‘The Way I Love You Now’ epitomises this, a soulful, introspective piano ballad that showcases Kenny's ability to capture a melancholic mood, while still incorporating a hopeful, optimistic silver lining.

Co-written by Kenny alongside Mike Reid, ‘The Way I Love You Now’ appears as the ninth track on BORN, and finds the ‘Take Her Home’ hitmaker crooning wistfully about the painful, confusing evolution of a relationship, before concluding that he feels grateful for the way their journey so far has changed his ability to appreciate his ex.

The Sound:

The sparse, stripped-back arrangement of ‘The Way I Love You Now’ draws from the same palette as another visceral BORN stand-out, ‘Wherever You Are Tonight’. The majority of ‘The Way I Love You Now’ allows the spotlight to fall on Kenny's captivating vocals, as he deftly navigates the ebbs and flows of the vulnerable song.

Gradually, we get the subtle, gentle introduction of an acoustic guitar, which intertwines with the atmospheric keys. Towards the latter half of ‘The Way I Love You Now’, a couple of electric guitars build the intensity as we approach the moving crescendo.

The Meaning:

“Well the roads that we have traveled

Have kept us years apart

Remembering a moment

And how it left a mark

Two hearts wounded in passion

This world would not allow”

The magic of ‘The Way I Love You Now’ is it's unclear whether the couple that lead the story have reconciled romantically, or whether the protagonist is simply making peace with past wounds so that they can become friends all these years later. It's irrelevant to the resonance of the tale, because the crux of ‘The Way I Love You Now’ is forgiveness, with no strings attached and no expectations.

Kenny begins by letting the listener know he's spent years not talking to the person he's singing about, due to a falling out they experienced, leaving ‘Two hearts wounded in passion’.

The proceeding lyric - ‘This world would not allow’ - is intriguing, because it implies that the way the break-up was framed only left room for one heart to be hurt, perhaps suggesting the protagonist didn't receive as much empathy as the other half.

“Well I’m here to make my peace

With the way I love you now”

After setting the backdrop of discord, Kenny Chesney underlines that he's ready to reconcile and forgive the ex for past mistakes. Throughout ‘The Way I Love You Now’, it's evident that the relationship has changed forever, and although the protagonist struggled to come to terms with this at first, he's now found his peace.

“Oh the way I love you now

Is different than it was

It’s in my brokenness

It’s what the healing does”

The catalyst for Kenny's newfound willingness to rebuild the bridges with his old flame is that he recognised his own flaws. Through this soul-searching, he realised that he can't continue blaming the other person for their faults, when considering his ‘brokenness’. It brings to mind the famous Biblical quote, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye”.

“Yeah the way I love you now

Is the man I want to be

To love what I can’t have

And finally come to see

I’m grateful

For the way I love you now”

Here, we get the strongest suggestion yet that the couple are not rekindling their romance, simply getting back on good terms as friends. Kenny reflects on how he has grown and healed to the extent that he feels comfortable loving ‘what he can't have’.

He goes beyond merely stating he's at peace, and instead expresses his gratitude for everything that happened between the two, because it's given him this new perspective.

“There’ve been countless others

To fill my whiskey glass

With questions I can’t answer

Questions I don’t ask

If reconciliation

Is the best that we can do

And I knew how it would hurt me

I’d still fall in love with you”

This somewhat cryptic verse hint that the song's protagonist has previously leaned on alcohol instead of facing up to the questions and doubts that arose about the past.

One of the key themes of BORN as a whole is embracing each aspect of our life experience - the highs and the lows, and everything in-between - and these lines align particularly well with this idea. Before, the lead character shied way from dealing with the tough questions - perhaps about the break-up - but now he's stared down his regrets, and turned them into reasons to be grateful. He underlines, if he could have his time again, he'd still fall in love with the person he's singing to.

“You’re with me in the silence

When the night is still and dark

You’re with me in the lonely

That never leaves my heart

But it’s more than just a memory

Of disappointment and pain”

Kenny Chesney reveals that he carries their past love with him at all times, and that at one point, it was a hurtful reminder of what went wrong, but that now, he views these lasting memories as the warm, comforting afterglow of their relationship.

“It’s the way I love you now

Only forgiveness can explain”

He cuts to the crux of ‘The Way I Love You Now’ in these concluding lines, with Kenny Chesney emphasising that forgiveness was the path towards the couple finding common ground again. The touching implication throughout is, as well as forgiving his ex, he's also had to forgive himself for the part he played in the break-up.

What has Kenny Chesney said about ‘The Way I Love You Now’?

In his Holler interview, Kenny delved into the importance of incorporating both light and shade into BORN, with ‘The Way I Love You Now’ a striking example of the latter, “The truth is: that's everything life is, right? We all have trials, tough stuff, lose friends. We all have wins, great moments, crazy adventures. I think the reality is to feel all of it, to appreciate everything and to meet every experience where it is”.

He went on to underline, “Some people might think my records have a split personality, but really, it's about how life actually is. The secret - and ‘Guys Named Captain’ is all about that - is to understand that no matter the low moments, look for the sunshine. Because that sunshine will pull you through, but also on a good day to dance in the sunshine, to take those moments for all their worth”.

In the Apple Music notes for BORN, Kenny shared how special it was for him to craft ‘The Way I Love You Now’ with Mike Reid, ““I wrote that song with Mike Reed, who I really, truly love and respect. He’s written a lot of wonderful songs. He wrote one of my favourite Tim McGraw songs ever, a song called ‘Everywhere’. He wrote ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ by Bonnie Raitt. You can say you can forgive someone, but once you have true life perspective, like years later, is when you forgive someone. That’s when it really matters. That’s how it happened for me, anyway. Taking ego completely out of the way, taking the life experiences completely out of the way and seeing someone as a broken human being just like we all are, and forgiving them. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written in a while”.

For the full lyrics to Kenny Chesney's ‘The Way I Love You Now’, see below:

“Well the roads that we have traveled

Have kept us years apart

Remembering a moment

And how it left a mark

Two hearts wounded in passion

This world would not allow

Well I’m here to make my peace

With the way I love you now

Oh the way I love you now

Is different than it was

It’s in my brokenness

It’s what the healing does

Yeah the way I love you now

Is the man I want to be

To love what I can’t have

And finally come to see

I’m grateful

For the way I love you now

There’ve been countless others

To fill my whiskey glass

With questions I can’t answer

Questions I don’t ask

If reconciliation

Is the best that we can do

And I knew how it would hurt me

I’d still fall in love with you

Oh the way I love you now

Is different than it was

It’s in my brokenness

It’s what the healing does

Yeah the way I love you now

Is the man I want to be

To love what I can’t have

And finally come to see

I’m grateful

For the way I love you now

You’re with me in the silence

When the night is still and dark

You’re with me in the lonely

That never leaves my heart

But it’s more than just a memory

Of disappointment and pain

It’s the way I love you now

Only forgiveness can explain

Ah the way I love you now

Is different than it was

It’s in my brokenness

It’s what the healing does

Yeah the way I love you now

Is the man I want to be

To love what I can’t have

And finally come to see

I’m grateful

For the way I love you now

So grateful

For the way I love you now”

For more on Kenny Chesney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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