And for my money, it doesn’t get much better – or sadder – than Doug Stone‘s “I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box).”
The heartbreaker was Stone’s debut single from his self-titled album back in 1990, and peaked at #4 on the charts.
And damn, it’ll punch you in the gut right from the opening line.
“I said the night you left me Nothing worse could ever happen But seeing you with someone else Proved that I was wrong”
The song’s all about the heartbreak that comes from seeing the one you love fall in love with someone else. And throughout the lyrics, you can feel the hopelessness and despair in the narrator’s words:
“And when your eyes met mine I knew That you were gone forever Along with all the reasons I had for hangin’ on”
If you’ve ever felt that kind of heartbreak, you know what he’s talking about. That moment when you’ve been holding on to hope, but then you finally realize that everything you wanted is gone, and there’s no getting it back.
And as he sings about how he’d rather be shipped back home in a coffin, you can tell just how much the thought – and sight – of seeing the love of his life with someone else haunts his mind:
“I’d be better off in a pine box On a slow train back to Georgia Or in the gray walls of a prison doing time I think I’d rather die and go to hell and face the devil Than to lie here with you and him Together on my mind”
Damn those lyrics are just incredible.
This has always been one of my favorite country songs – not just one of my favorite sad songs, but favorite songs in general. In fact, I would rank this one pretty high on my list of greatest country songs of all time. It’s so damn underrated.