Kenny Chesney’s “Better Boat” Takes On A Whole New Meaning In Quarantine

I’ve been trying to make the most of my time at home during this crazy time of social distancing. I’ve done a lot of cleaning and organizing. Picked up some new and old hobbies. I’ve also done some self-reflection. I mean, what else are you supposed to do when you live alone with two dogs?

Yesterday, I was just letting music shuffle while I was cleaning, and Kenny Chesney’s “Better Boat” started playing. As soon as I heard the first few lines, I immediately stopped what I was doing and went to sit down beside the speaker.

“I ain’t lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone. More than I’d like to, but I’m okay with staying home. My how the last few months have changed.”

This was my favorite song on Songs for the Saints record and I listened to it many times when it came out in the summer of 2018. That was a weird time for me, as it was about nine months after my dad passed away, so the song was really fitting. I stopped listening to it as time I went on, I haven’t heard it in a long time.

When I heard it again yesterday, it sounded completely different. Or maybe I heard it through fresh ears. Either way, it hit me really hard. Initially, I thought about myself and what I was doing during this time to improve myself before we go back to our normal crazy lives. I thought about how I was I was learning to build a better boat.

Since then, I have been thinking about how the world is learning how to build a better boat. I have quickly realized this song is accurately describing all of society in its current state.

Here are a few pieces of the song that have become freakishly relatable to our current world:

“I spend a lot of time alone, more than I’d like to, but I’m okay with staying home.”

Based on what I’m seeing from social media, people really struggle at being alone and staying home. Even if you’re not actually “alone,” maybe you’re with family or roommates or your significant other, it’s still very different than being with the rest of the world. Maybe people are going to get more comfortable spending time by themselves or at least get a better understanding of why they are so uncomfortable alone. Or at least, maybe they will appreciate the time they get to spend with others a little bit more.

“I’m smiling more despite the pain.”

This is a terrifying time in the world and it’s going to be devastating to so many people’s lives, but I almost feel like people have started to see the silver linings in things more than they were before. People are finding joy in simple things and they’re thankful to just be healthy.

“Got friends to call who let me talk about what ain’t workin, what’s still hurtin’, all the things I feel like cussin’ out.”

I personally have been calling, Facetiming, and Zoom-ing with friends more than I ever have before. Of course, some of which I would have seen in person and I wouldn’t have had to call. But I’m also connecting with old friends that I haven’t “had time” to catch up with in a long time. This seems to be true for many others, as well. I hope this strengthens relationships and everyone can get together face to face when it’s all over.

“I hate waiting, ain’t no patience in these hands.”

We live in a rush, rush, rush kind of society. Everything needs to be done right this second. No one wants to wait for anything. It’s kind of crazy that the only think we can do right now is to stay inside our homes and wait. That’s how we can have the biggest impact on the world, is to stop and wait. Maybe after this is over, we can slow down a little bit more and not be in such a hurry to move on.

“Now and then I let it go, I ride the waves I can’t control. If it’s workin’, I don’t know. When I get done, the thing may not float, but I’m learnin’ how to build a better boat.”

I think the hardest part of this whole thing is having no control on what’s happening. We have no say, there is so little that we can do, and it’s completely out of our hands. There’s no one to blame and we don’t really know how to fix it. We just have to ride it out and do the few things we know to be beneficial for everyone. Maybe this will help people be more okay with not knowing what’s going to happen or feeling okay not being able to control every detail of every situation.

Kenny said the Songs for the Saints album was inspired by another devastating disaster, Hurricane Irma, and the rebuilding process. Travis Meadows and Liz Rose wrote this song, it was fitting then, and it is still so needed in this current moment. We are going to be in another rebuilding process after this pandemic subsides.

If you’ve spent any of this down time doing any kind of thinking about what kind of a person you are or what your life looks like or what you’re grateful for, you might relate. If you haven’t done any of those things yet, I encourage you to take a fresh listen to this song in the current climate of the world.

We’re all in this together and we’re all learning how to build a better boat.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock