I Can Unlove You
Mark Sanders

I'm not ashamed to admit it; I don't like the music of Kenny Rogers. And his latest return to popular country music is so sentimental, dated and hokey that the single "I Can't Unlove You" sounds like a parody before it even finishes. Not to mention the obvious comparisons to the often humored "I wish I could quit you..." phrase from that movie from last year.

Few experiences can make you loathe the music of a songwriter more than having to learn how to play it and then perform, standing in uniform while 30 minutes of homecoming court is announced, a song certainly never meant for marching band. Although I was never very fond of Kenny's music before, performing "Lady" over and over on a cool night in the fall of 1986 pushed me over the edge. My lips burned, my arm hurt (I played the trombone after all; second chair) and I will never hear that song again without having to relive the repetitive agony.

Some may argue that "The Gambler" and "Lucille" are genuine country hits and therefore worthy of a little respect. I, however, have always found them timid attempts at capturing the real spit and bile of Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Johnny Cash. And while the late Mr. Cash and others have kept their fire late in their careers, Mr. Rogers moves to a style so saccharine that morning news programs fall over themselves to invite him to play.

And he has a new image, too. Gone are his signature beard and mullet; replaced with freshly colored / spiked hair and a goatee. Denim shirts have been cast aside for unbuttoned satin. And if his modern country image wasn't complete, he has added a leather string choker that dangles some unidentifiable symbol atop his unusually tanned chest.

But even with all that, there is one good Kenny Rogers experience I always think about when I hear his name. His was the chicken restaurant with the neon sign that drove Cosmo and Jerry crazy on Seinfeld. A funnier fast food addiction I'm not sure there has ever been and all because of Kenny.

-- an excerpt from I Can't Unlove You on Capital Records

I can't unthink about you
I can't unfeel your touch
I can't unhear all the words
Unsay all the things
That used to mean so much
I wish I could unremember
Everything my heart's been through
And finding out it's impossible to do
Oh, it's no use
I can't unlove you