David Nail – “I’m About To Come Alive”

Jim Malec | April 22nd, 2008

David Nail Songwriters: Charlie Colin, Rob Hotchkiss, Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford, Scott Underwood, Clint Bennett.

For his debut MCA single, Daivd Nail offers up “I’m About To Come Alive,” a deliriously awful song (originally butchered by pop-rock band Train on 2003′s My Private Nation) which pretends to be emotionally complex, but is, in practice, dripping with self-pity, a desperate plea to a lover for more time and more faith in the face of the singer’s own shortcomings.

“I’m About To Come Alive” offers nothing more than a series of the same kind of empty promises (“Somewhere over that rainbow/There’s a place for me, a place with you“) that has led to the woman’s disenchantment in the first place, coupled with irrelevant (and abstract) emotional banter like, “You’re all I’ve got left to believe in,” that is neither compelling nor even remotely sympathetic.

What is most outrageous about this song, however, is the sentiment at the very core of the singer’s emotional conflict. After all of the pretense and begging, his argument really comes down to an appeal to the woman’s pride: “No one thought I was good enough for you, except for you/Don’t let them be right after all that we’ve been through.”

It would be easy to look at “I’m About To Come Alive” as a welcome reprieve from the gluttony of G-rated, family-friendly, and emotionally saccharine sameness currently infesting the format, but don’t be fooled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing–this is nothing more than a poorly conceived pop song.

Thumbs Down

  1. Brady Vercher
    April 22, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Dang, six writers. I don’t really get the whole idea that he’s about to come alive. So he’s just gonna change instantly because he heard her talking about leaving him on the phone? He didn’t see this coming before? Someone needs to communicate.

  2. Leeann
    April 22, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Holy cow, how many songwriters are needed to write one song?!

  3. roger
    April 22, 2008 at 8:06 am

    not making apologies for the song, but in this case the six-way co-write is because it was written by the band Train, those are all original members of the band listed as co-writers which is fairly commonplace if they were sitting down to write an album as a band….i haven’t heard the song and quite frankly after reading this review will probably leave it that way!

  4. Brady Vercher
    April 22, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Thanks for the clarification on the writers, Roger. I actually liked some of the stuff Train did and own an album or two, but I never paid attention to who the members were.

  5. Chad
    April 22, 2008 at 8:25 am

    WOW. I’m not a huge fan of Train but this is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs. I don’t like this version as much…possibly b/c its a cover, but moreso b/c the instrumentation is just too much. Believe it or not, the original version was more acoustic and provided more emotional vulnerability.

    I appreciate the review, but I do think people get into ruts in relationships. I’ve always thought of the singer being in a depression/funk and trying to come out of it. Y’all are exactly right, there is obviously little communication between this couple, but I think its a realistic portrayal of a stagnant relationship. I think he’s “trying to come alive,” move out of his depression, and be there for her again. Rarely do we see a male in songs appear as vulnerable.

    Just my thoughts…

  6. mikeky
    April 22, 2008 at 8:34 am

    proof positive that writing by committee is a disaster. 6 of them doesn’t add up to one decent song. meh – .

  7. Matt B.
    April 22, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I like David Nail as a vocalist but don’t know if this is the song to re-launch him. He had recorded a record w/Mercury in 2004, strangly under the same management he’s under now. He was let go before being re-signed.

    Also, one can download the song for free here: http://www.people.com/people/package/gallery/0,,20154328_20153912_13,00.html

  8. Matt B.
    April 22, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Let me clarify, it’s not his single but another track called “Missouri” (he had old songs called “Memphis” and “Seattle” on his demo so he must like ‘location’ songs.

  9. Lucas
    April 22, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Wait. There must be some sort of confusion. Isn’t this a country music blog? Why is this guy on here!?

    Not only is this a poor song, it’s even poor by watered-down-country-pop standards.

    Too bad I’m not an lawyer, I could clean up by convincing Chuck Wicks to sue for image theft.

    Six writers for that!?

  10. Leeann
    April 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Like Brady, I like some Train stuff, but know nothing about the band. At least that explanation clears up the writers thing a bit.

  11. Chris N.
    April 22, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Again, a lot of rock bands credit their songs equally among all the members (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van Halen and U2 spring to mind), so you can wind up with a bunch of names on a credit even if one guy really wrote it. Helps to keep the peace.

  12. Matt B.
    April 22, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    If y’all think 6 writers for a song is a lot, you haven’t seen a hip hop credit. those can be up to 10 or more depending on how many samples they use.

  13. mikeky
    April 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    it would at least be a great song title if you just took off the word ‘alive’. then it’s perfect.

  14. Jeremy Potts
    April 22, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Then it definitely would be a reprieve from G-rated songs! That’s for sure

  15. Kerri
    April 23, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Dear David,

    Keep your chin up! The9513 & Company love to pick apart songs lately, unless your a “superstar” and write your own songs, your a goner here! Pay no attention and keep singing.

  16. Hollerin' Ben
    April 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm


    we are nicer to superstars?

    and artists who write their own songs?

    I must have been visiting (and writing for) a different website for the past few months…

  17. CRAIG R.
    April 23, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    This song brings up two points that have been nagging at me for a long while.
    1. This guy is merely a face. Handsome, clean cut with rugged undertones. You can almost hear some Nashville exec saying his face will fit this song. In the video he looks modern, metrosexual but he is ,of course, wearing cowboy boots. Who in hell does he appeal to: dumb girls? pre-teens who confuse these lyrics with real love? gay men who are tired of looking at Rascal Flatts? Who? He has a bad voice, no personality( all the better for each girl or guy to fill in)andthe song is so non-country I thought I was watching VH-1.
    2. Why does it take three or more people to write songs these days? Are Nashville songwriters that dumb or greedy? Six people to write one song- did they each contribute a bad lyric? When Haggard, Cash, Lynn and Parton were at the top they wrote a great song after a great song by themselves. What is the value of six writers or three for that matter? How can I find value in a song with that many cooks with their fingers in the pot. My God I hate Toby Keith but at least he can write by himself!

  18. Stephen H.
    April 23, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Craig, as said above, the six writers were all members of Train … more than likely not all of them actually contributed. None are Nashville songwriters.

  19. CRAIG R.
    April 24, 2008 at 5:43 am

    If all six didn’t write then I call that fraud! Just another way to make money off a bad song.

  20. Jim Malec
    April 24, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Actually, all six writers would share the same amount of money as if there were only two writers. The royalty rates don’t increase.

  21. Leeann
    April 24, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Does this mean that the writers are making less money than if there were only two or three credited writers? If so, having so many writers makes each person less money rather than more. Otherwise, do songwriters make the same amount of money no matter how many writers are credited?

  22. Jim Malec
    April 24, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Every musical composition has a 100% share of “Writer’s Credit” and a 100% share of “Publisher’s Credit.” Each of those 100%s gets divided up depending on the number of credited writers and publishers. Sometimes, although it is somewhat rare, all writers will not have an “equal share” of a song.

    That is more common in publishing, where a firm might have a 25% stake in a song. That’s a 25% stake in the song’s 100% of Publishing.

    Also, the total 200% is actually 100% of whatever the royalty rate is.

    Anyway, the point of all this is that, yes, the more writers on each song, the less each makes from royalties.

  23. Leeann
    April 24, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Thanks, Jim! I knew I could count on you to answer my question. So, six writers on a song does not equal greedy. It doesn’t equal a better song either, so I wonder why people agree to it?

  24. Chris N.
    April 24, 2008 at 8:23 am

    In rock and roll, it’s so the drummer can afford to eat.

  25. Matt B.
    April 24, 2008 at 9:28 am

    In rock and roll, it’s so the drummer can afford to eat.

    Because they likely will leave the band before other members.

  26. Leeann
    April 24, 2008 at 9:45 am

    When I was a kid, I really wanted to learn how to play the drums. Unfortunately and strangely, my mom wouldn’t let me because she said that the drums were for boys, not girls. Maybe she was just protecting me from a life of starvation?:) Or maybe she’s just sexist.

  27. Kelly
    April 24, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Hey Kerri: you should do a bit more reading on this site. there are plenty of big names who have written their own stuff that gets torched on here also. there are also many positive reviews for both big and small names alike. I think this site does a great job of giving unknown or lesser known artists a vehicle for their music, regardless of the review. They make sure the song can be listened to on here as well as use the comments section as a sounding board for people with opinions that both differ and concur. Please read the site more thoroughly before you try and give someone else a lesson on how things go ’round here (if i can say as much, seeing as i am not a staffer)….

  28. Chris N.
    April 24, 2008 at 10:19 am

    @Leeann: It’s never too late!

  29. Leeann
    April 24, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Chris, I’ve moved on to guitar. I’m taking lessons and I’m so not a quick study. I’d rather hear a guitar than a drum these days.

  30. Chris N.
    April 24, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Guitar’s a lot more portable anyway.

  31. Kerri
    April 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Dear Kelly,

    Thank you for your suggestion on a reading lesson for me and by the way, the comment was addressed to the artist, not you or The9513! I was merely stating my thoughts after reading another “Thumbs Down” and the comments from the many “critics”. I wasn’t giving anyone a lesson on “how things go round here”, just telling David to keep his chin up. I am well aware that this is a wonderful site that gives the lesser know artist a chance, that is if they can get through the comments! I have seen the trend, the comments are so polite if they love the song and the artist, if not then be prepared to see some that are bordering on being degrading and hurtful. These are coming from the staff and ordinary people who love trashing others. Are you sure that your not on staff?

  32. Kelly
    April 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm


    You’re comments may have been directed towards the artist, but you were trying to make a point by stating a falsehood about who gets negative reviews and why. Like I said earlier, if you look through the comments of the negative reviews, you’ll often see a mix of fans who disagree with the review and give positive comments along with folks who are agreeing with the negative review. The “ordinary people” are people that like discussing the various forms of country music, both positively and negatively. Do you like everything you ever hear on the radio? Have you ever told a friend that you didnt like a cd you bought or borrowed? I am not on the staff, the fact is, I am not a talented enough writer. What I am is a guy who appreciated this site/forum for the alternative that it is for people who like ALL forms of country, not just what Target or CMT tells us is country.

  33. Amber
    April 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    A few of you need to LISTEN to the song before you down it.

    The train versions is GORGEOUS.

    It’s perfect, when hearing the song, they lyrics fit just fine, regardless of what this writer says… listen for yourself and come up with your own opinion.

    FYI I have many friends in large bands, and bands get together and write songs together all the time. It’s nothing new, this guy just named each individual to get the response he wanted, which most of you gave him.

  34. Leeann
    April 24, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    No, he always names each of the songwriters of a song. I have not heard the Train version of this song, but I have listened to this song, since it is provided here for our listening pleasure. I don’t like this version, but I’ll give the Train version a try.

  35. diver
    April 24, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Lucas: “Too bad I’m not an lawyer, I could clean up by convincing Chuck Wicks to sue for image theft”.

    Am I the only one that thinks that is hilarious?
    I thought it was a Chuck Wicks review when I first saw it..too funny!

  36. Kelly
    April 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    It is funny, but what is sad is that there are a million generic white guys that sing simple, plain, unoriginal love songs that could sue Chuck Wicks for the very same form of theft…I am not a lawyer, but I imagine that “boring” is public domain, huh?

  37. Lucas
    April 27, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Ha! Good point, boring does seem to be too public domain these days.

    This almost makes me question whether my “the guys with hats are the superstars” theory is because of the more recognizable image they have.

  38. Stephen H.
    April 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    To one of the commenters above (I forget whom):

    I NEVER want to read perfect and Train in the same sentence again … they might possibly be my least favorite rock band from the last twenty years. They’re terrible.

    In terms of the songwriters, though, we need to remember that almost all of the Beatles’ songs were written by “Lennon/McCartney,” even though a lot of them were only actually written by one or the other. That’s probably the same agreement the Train people have. Almost all of the songs on their four albums have been credited for all six members.

  39. Dan
    May 1, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I think the Train version of this song may actually sound more country than Nail’s.

    And that’s sad.

  40. Grace
    May 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I don’t usually comment on these sites but I just had to. I went to a live performance by David Nail at our Country Radio Station here in San Diego and everyone there enjoyed his performance. His voice is great, love the single and besides that he was a real personable young guy and I just think all these negative comments are wrong. (But that’s just my opinion)

  41. Becky
    May 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    I LOVE the song. I think it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I think this review BLOWS! It is clear that the man loves the woman and has worked to build a life with her, but in the “working for a living” we ALL do, he forgot to provide her with his attention, but still loves her deeply. Saying – I’m about to come alive, means he has finally reach a point in his life where he can devote more time to her and provide the love he had neglected. I think is a wonderful song. Why do people always feel the need to down someone else? How aweful to say what this review says. Tells really what kind of person the writer of the review is to be so hateful! I give this review a THUMBS DOWN!!!

  42. Becky
    May 6, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Stephen H..FYI… TRAIN ROCKS!!!!!!! And not to mention, the lead singer is Sooooo FINE! They are awesome, we are all intitled to our opinions, and you don’t have to like them, but don’t be rude to others. They are NOT terrible. They are great.

  43. Janice
    May 8, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Why does the review talk ONLY about the lyrics? There is so much that goes into making a song than the lyrics. This song is musically haunting and beautiful.

  44. leslie quarles
    May 17, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I looked up some info on David Nail and appreciate that he has been writing music of his own since age 15. He plays both drums and guitar, and was apparently superinvolved in choir and singing. He has been around the music biz in the Nashville scene for several years, paying his dues like other people do/have done playing the bars and getting deals that go sour. I also read that Train is one of David’s fave bands, so maybe the record co wanted something that would sound familiar to public for the first single. Hopefully he will have a chance for second.

  45. James
    May 26, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    This is an absolutely awesome song (the David Nail version anyway) and the writer of this article above (Jim Males I assume) really needs to get a life and possibly another job if writing is what he does for a living. Here is a though Mr.Malec….I will tell you the same thing I would love to tell Simon Cowell on American Idol……can you sing? LOL…..hell no you cant or you would be doing it instead of writing tasteless articles for the internet. When you finally can sing……then you can write an article cutting others down, until then maybe look for another job…..maybe a doorman or a bartender you might be able to handle that!

  46. James
    May 26, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I got kind of carried away above because the review pissed me off so bad that I made some typeo’s so I will fix them:

    This is an absolutely awesome song (the David Nail version anyway) and the writer of this article above (Jim Malec I assume) really needs to get a life and possibly another job if writing is what he does for a living. Here is a thought Mr.Malec

  47. Jim Malec
    May 26, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I can’t sing. And Simon can’t sing either. And he’ll readily tell you that he can’t sing. But that doesn’t make him (or I) unfit to judge whether or not other people can sing. Hell, Simon is responsible for the sale of more record than David Nail can hope to sell in seven lifetimes.

    But thanks for comparing me to him. Simon is someone I look up to and respect a great deal.

  48. James
    May 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    LOL…..I have no doubt that you do, which is almost as sad as your reviews. The fact remains, until you CAN walk in someone else’s shoes, you don’t have the right to judge the way they are walking in them. I suggest you make a valid attempt at finding yourself a life!

  49. James
    May 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    One more thing Mr. “I am the music God” Malec…..who in the hell EVER told you that just because you don’t like a song or a singer that just simply means they cant sing? Never mind what the rest of the world thinks right? I mean really, who the hell do you think you are anyway? Another free suggestion…..if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it or buy the CD. How about that, problem solved!
    See, this is how it works……I think you SUCK as a review writer, but instead of going and writing my own review about how bad you SUCK at what you do, I am just not going to read anymore of your stuff! Looky there how that solved the issue at hand. One more thought before I go (for good, because you aren’t worth my wasted time)……lets just wait and see if this song makes it to the top 20 country countdown. My guess is that it will easily, and then you can decide whether to chew off your foot or try to pry it out of your mouth!

  50. Matt C.
    May 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Hey James, if Jim doesn’t have the right to judge this song because he’s not a singer, doesn’t ythis also mean that you don’t have the right to call this an “absolutely awesome song?”

  51. Mike Parker
    May 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Hey James, if you disagree with the review, it’s well within your right to rebut Jim’s arguments as to where the song fails. Attacking him personally makes you look like a jerk and you lack of any reasonable argument makes you look like a fool.

    You don’t have to apologize for seeing things different, but an explanation of why you see things different is the only way you’ll change anyone’s opinion about anything. If I call you stupid and you punch me in the face- you haven’t won the argument…

  52. Jim Malec
    May 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Must you people always use the same lame arguments? Let me make one of my world-famous numbered lists: (It’s easier for the children to follow along with).

    1) I don’t think I said a damn thing in the review about whether or not David Nail can sing.

    2) My review, which deals with the song’s quality, has nothing at all to do with whether or not the song becomes a hit. I mean, for Pete’s sake, are you going to try to sit here and tell me that “Watermelon Crawl” is a great song because it went to the Top 5 “country countdown?”

    3) Sure, let’s not have any critical work about any of our art or entertainment. Let’s not be a society full of intelligent people who seek out opinions different than their own. Great idea.

    4) You’ve never walked in my shoes as a “review writer,” so how dare you say I suck at writing reviews. Until you can write reviews, you have no right to judge me, Mr. “I’m the God of music reviews!”

    5) Simon helps people, because he tells them the truth. And sometimes it hurts. And sometimes he’s wrong. But he’s very rarely wrong. And so yes, I respect him a great deal, and I hope to have half the career he’s had.

    Like Simon, sometimes I’m wrong. But those times are rare.

    6) Actually, no. You’re right. Never mind what the rest of the world thinks. My opinion is the only one that matters. I am the music God, after all.

    7) If I’m not worth your time, why did you bother to post so many comments to this article?

    I’ll tell you why–because you know I’m right. And you may not want to admit it, but deep down, you know it. And it pisses you off to no end, doesn’t it?

  53. Courtney
    June 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I think this song is completely amazing! Everytime I hear it, it gives me a tingle that only really good songs do! David Nail has a very intriguing and interesting voice! I love it!

  54. Ashley
    June 8, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    I love David Nail’s voice, been a fan since his first single, “Memphis” in 2002. (His debut album on Mercury was never officially released, but copies of the advance have been floating around for years, and it was actually a pretty decent effort.) Suffice it to say, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a new single/album!

    His appearance has changed a bit (to be honest, he looks like he’s had a rough 6 years), but his voice is just as beautiful as ever. I got my hands on a copy of a new advance yesterday, and I have to say, there are a good number of songs on there that, if consulted, I’d have considered releasing before “I’m About to Come Alive.” (There’s a song on there called, “This Time Around” that would have been perfect for a re-introduction: “This time around I’m a little more ready now/ I’m a little bit older, a little more figured out/ This time around.”) He got the short end of the stick with the last label, we’ll see what this one does for him.

    And someone else made the same observation that occurred to me: he sure likes to write about places. While the never-released debut had “Memphis” and “Seattle,” the new album has “Missouri” and “Mississippi!”

  55. leslie
    June 19, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Heard David’s song on Sirius today, and the day before that. It is getting played, and has stayed steady on the charts. He is playing in KC soon and I can’t wait to go see/hear him live!

  56. Audra
    June 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I think maybe he means the I’m about to come alive as in. Maybe he wasn’t trying enough before maybe he didn’t realize how his actions where affecting her. In any good relationship has hiccups and u have to try really hard to stay together. Then when he heard how much it hurt her and how sad she was really feeling. He got to thinkiing about everything and realized he had to try harder so in his way he told her baby don’t leave I’m about to come alive I’m about to change. Look at all the good we had you know we can get it back. Thats how I took it.

  57. Greg R.
    October 19, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Completely disagree with all of Jim’s points. Pretty disappointed by this assessment to be quite honest.

  58. stormy
    October 19, 2009 at 10:07 am

    James: Can you write a review? Because until you can write a review you can’t criticize others for the reviews they write.

  59. Sam
    July 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    David Nail’s drummer is very handsome (hott)!! lol :)

  60. Jon G.
    July 26, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    There were several things said by several different parties, so I’ll just kinda say it as it comes to me:

    I love this song.

    I love David Nail’s voice.

    I love “Watermelon Crawl.”

    I love Simon Cowell’s honesty.

    That is all :)


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