However, the lyrics paint the bigger picture. While we’ve seen an artist like Alan Jackson tackle the subject of growing older from a different perspective with “The Older I Get” (that is, looking forward to those days instead of dreading the eventual end), Nelson tackles it from the traditional perspective. In other words, he’s not ready to go. There admittedly isn’t much to the lyrical content here, however we do see Nelson get personal for a moment by admitting it’s hard seeing all of his friends check out before he does. After all, he’s lived just as hard (likely harder) than they have, so why is he still among the living? It’s a statement that hits hard despite the cheery nature, but it also shows that despite all of that, Nelson wants more life because if anything, he’s actually going to live it instead of waste it.
At this point in his career, it’s hard to say that Nelson will ever give a “knockout” vocal performance, however thankfully here, he’s sounding better than he has in a long time, with a delivery that's on time and consistent. There’s even a hint of charisma to his delivery that can’t help but make the listener smile.
Overall, “Last Man Standing” sees Nelson triumphant rather than letting something such as death get in his way. Like always, he’s miles ahead of most younger artists, and it’s great to see him continue to release great music. I’m glad Nelson wants to stick around a bit, because I know quite a few people that would enjoy that as well.
Listen: "Last Man Standing"
Author: Zackary Kephart