After his self-titled 1993 debut failed to make an impact on the country charts, Tim McGraw made up for lost time with its follow-up, Not a Moment Too Soon.
The March 22, 1994, release’s five Top 10 singles serve as musical time machines, taking listeners back to when platinum album sales were the norm for cowboy hat-wearing country singers. The other half of the album reminds fans that McGraw’s familiar vocal twang elevates songs that, for a lot of other stars, might be filed away as filler tracks.
Still, naturally, some of the songs from Not a Moment Too Soon are better than others. The Boot's ranking of the album's tracks favors the earliest hits by McGraw, one of the most accomplished entertainers of the past 25 years. Here are our favorites, from worst to best.
This song relies way too much on Native American clichés before it mercifully fades into a cover of co-writer John D. Loudermilk’s 1970s super-hit “Indian Reservation.”
“It Doesn’t Get Any Countrier Than This”
Nowadays, this title would be emblazoned on an album by an act bent on pleading authenticity. In 1994, it defined a tale about a love interest capable of cranking McGraw’s tractor with just one kiss.
“Ain’t That Just Like a Dream”
McGraw's songs about counting your blessings work best as duets with his wife, Faith Hill. That said, this sunshiny cut is as a solid parting statement for his sophomore effort.
A handful of country ballads from this time period sound ready-made for prom night or a summer wedding -- that is, they’re the Music City equivalent of Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” "Not a Moment Too Soon" is one of those songs.
This drinking song carries a double meaning: It’s about drinking straight liquor to forget an ex, while blasting the perfect George Strait songs for when baby’s gotten good at goodbye.
Some guys just don’t handle breakups well. For the lead character of this McGraw song, losing a lover reaches biblical proportions. It's a clever tale of heartbreak that borrows from the Book of Genesis.
“Wouldn’t Want It Any Other Way”
This hidden gem harnesses the staying power of Garth Brooks’ sentimental tunes (“The Dance,” “Unanswered Prayers”) before going full-on power ballad, with fiddle intertwined with stadium-filling guitar work.
This one belongs on any proto-bro party playlist alongside classics by Joe Diffie and Little Texas. After all, hat acts sang songs about tractors and pickup trucks, complete with name-drops of past country stars, long before anyone had uttered the polarizing term “bro-country.”
Here's a reminder that Mexico represented drunken debauchery in country songs before Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and McGraw cemented it as a early century trope.
In the spirit of George Strait’s near-perfect “Love Without End, Amen,” McGraw follows how a childhood lesson can take on different meanings over time. It’s still one of the most moving songs and strongest vocal performances in the singer’s vast repertoire.