20 Years Ago: Jo Dee Messina’s ‘I’m Alright’ Hits No. 1
On Aug. 18, 1998, Jo Dee Messina landed at No. 1 on the Billboard country singles chart with "I'm Alright."
The title track from Messina's second studio album, the Phil Vassar-penned "I'm Alright" features a woman who's down on her luck, but meeting up with an old friend (who perhaps might be an old flame) to catch up. Sparks don't fly — the man is now married, after all — but the rendezvous does help the narrator gain perspective on how her own life is going.
"I've been singing for my rent and singing for my supper," she sings. "I'm above the below and below the upper / I'm stuck in the middle where the money gets tight / But I guess I'm doing alright." By the end of the tune, she tells the man to keep in touch ("Send a fax or send me a letter / Or give me a call that will even be better"), and to tell other people too she's doing just great.
Fittingly, "I'm Alright" is a typically jaunty example of '90s country-pop. Messina augments the cry of "I'm alright!" on the catchy chorus with a hook driven by wordless singing and a carefree vibe. For good measure, the song adds in breezy instrumental flourishes, including spongy organ, lighthearted piano and flashes of electric guitar and pedal steel.
"I'm Alright" was Messina's second chart-topper in a row, after "Bye Bye." Its success helped propel her 1998 album of the same name to double platinum status.
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