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‘Top Down’ by Kenny Chesney - Lyrics & Meaning

March 22, 2024 1:32 pm GMT

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Kenny Chesney - ‘Top Down’

Label: Blue Chair Records / Warner Music Nashville

Release Date: March 15th 2024

Album: BORN

Producers: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney

Songwriter: Park Chisolm

The Background:

The slow-burning, easygoing ‘Top Down’ is one of the hidden gems on Kenny Chesney's 2024 album, BORN, with the Knoxville crooner exploring a more drawn-in, mellow sound compared to the motivational, high-energy offerings such as ‘Just To Say We Did’.

‘Top Down’ serves as a celebration of the freedom felt by a woman as she rides in the passenger seat of the protagonist's car, feeling the wind in her hair and losing herself in the moment.

Kenny Chesney has always had a penchant for evocative, layered vignettes of the women in his life, toasting their strength and independence on ‘Wild Child’ with Grace Potter, ‘Everyone She Knows’ and ‘Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)’.

The Sound:

On ‘Top Down’, Kenny Chesney's commanding baritone snakes along a simmering, subdued bed of guitars, with the track ending with a rousing, liberating solo.

It's one of the most compelling songs on the project, as Kenny and his co-producer, Buddy Cannon, explore a more drawn-in, sultry ambience. The track opens with the sparse arrangement of an emphatic, pining electric guitar and Kenny's signature vocals, before the driving drums enter the fray. The sinuous, winding composition and delivery mirror the feeling of cruising leisurely down a coastal highway.

The Meaning:

“She’s been living for the moment

She’s been living for the passing feeling

She’s been waiting for the night to come undone

She’s been swimming in the darkness

She’s been holding on to all her reasons

She’s been flying like a bullet from a gun”

The curtain opens on the woman with Kenny, as he paints her as a carefree, happy-go-lucky ‘Wild Child’, who has her feet planted firmly in the present and never shies away from adventure.

Judging from this portrayal, which depicts her as ‘flying like a bullet from a gun’ and ‘waiting for the night to come undone’, she's living according to the No Shoes Nation cri de coeur of savouring each breath as though it's your last. It's a mantra Kenny champions throughout BORN, on the likes of ‘One More Sunset’ and ‘Few Good Stories’.

“Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll”

The serpentine hook revolves around the breezy, easygoing scene of the couple coasting down the road with the convertible roof down, suggesting it's summer.

Kenny Chesney warmly admiring how his lover is so swept up in the moment that she has her eyes closed, as she sits back and enjoys the Rock and Roll on the radio. It's ironic, because you can imagine ‘Top Down’ itself being the perfect road trip soundtrack.

“Everybody’s got a secret

Everybody’s got a deep, dark corner

Everybody’s got a place they want to go

She could take you with a sweet kiss

She could leave you there begging for her

She could make you want to come right back for more”

This poetic verse can be split into two sections, with Kenny spending the first outlining how ‘everybody’ has dreams and desires that they keep to themselves, before he starts singing specifically once again about the woman he's with.

It's in these lyrics that the sensual tone of ‘Top Down’ radiates through most viscerally, with Kenny Chesney explaining how it's no use resisting the temptation of his lover - he knows he'll fail every time, and he accepts he's hooked for good.

“And you take her when she comes

And you take her when she goes

And you give her what she wants

No you never say no

And you take her when she comes

Yeah, you take her nice and slow

And you give her what she wants

No you never say no

No you never say no”

Kenny doubles-down on this idea that the man in this woman's life has to mould himself to her whims, as he underlines that she'll never be tamed - but implies this is one of the things he loves most about her. His guidance that you must “take her nice and slow” aligns with the hazy, unhurried atmosphere of the song as a whole.

“My baby’s got the top down

My baby’s got her eyes closed

My baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll”

This final iteration of the hook features a subtle but endearing alteration, with Kenny Chesney calling the woman ‘My baby’ as opposed to ‘Baby’. This brings in a newfound sense of possession, and hints that, although he pays tribute to her free-flowing spirit and untethered nature, perhaps he wishes she really was ‘his baby’.

What has Kenny Chesney said about ‘Top Down’?

In his 2024 interview with Holler, Kenny Chesney emphasised that he set out to craft BORN for those who live under their own flag, embodied by the woman in ‘Top Down’, “Growing up the way I did in East Tennessee, I'm incredibly grateful for it: the sports, the friends, the family, the community. It was awesome, and I know there are all kinds of people in communities just like mine all over the country”.

Kenny Chesney went on to explain, “Where they are is exactly where they want to be, and someone in New York and LA might not get it, or think it's the greatest way to live. But I know...the people of No Shoes Nation know...it doesn't have to be fancy, expensive or fast to feed your soul to be fun or make you feel fulfilled”.

For the full lyrics to Kenny Chesney's ‘Top Down’, see below:

“She’s been living for the moment

She’s been living for the passing feeling

She’s been waiting for the night to come undone

She’s been swimming in the darkness

She’s been holding on to all her reasons

She’s been flying like a bullet from a gun

Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll

Everybody’s got a secret

Everybody’s got a deep, dark corner

Everybody’s got a place they want to go

She could take you with a sweet kiss

She could leave you there begging for her

She could make you want to come right back for more

Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll

Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll

And you take her when she comes

And you take her when she goes

And you give her what she wants

No you never say no

And you take her when she comes

Yeah, you take her nice and slow

And you give her what she wants

No you never say no

No you never say no

Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll

Baby’s got the top down

Baby’s got her eyes closed

Baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll

My baby’s got the top down

My baby’s got her eyes closed

My baby likes the sweet sound

Of rock and roll”

For more on Kenny Chesney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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