Phillip Phillips‘ brand new single, “Love Like That,” dropped right at midnight (ET) on April 15. It’s Phillip’s first officially released new song in over four years. His last album, Collateral, was released in January 2018, while in 2021 he was featured in Walk Off The Earth’s uplifting single “Hold On To Your Love.”
Much has happened in the past four years — a little thing called a pandemic, of course — but also some wonderful things in Phillip’s personal life: in November 2019 he and his wife Hannah (the couple wed in 2015) welcomed their son Patch.
“Love Like That” is a sweet testament of love from Phillip to Hannah and Patch. It is Phillip’s most openly personal song yet, something we can gather partially through the lyrics, but mainly through the promotional messages that alluded to very intimate moments in Phillip and Hannah’s life and that Phillip shared in the days before the release of the song.
The video of “Love Like That,” which Phillip released simultaneously on YouTube, shows old and new footage of Phillip’s relationship with Hannah and their long journey together as a couple. While “Love Like That” stands on its own, the video does bring to the fore how deeply personal the song is for Phillip and makes some of the lyrics particularly poignant.
“Love Like That” was written by Phillip with Todd Clark (“Gone Gone Gone,” “Raging Fire”), Robyn Dell’Unto, and Khalid Yassein.
Originally from Canada, Dell’Unto is a successful songwriter and producer based in Nashville, while Yassein is a member of the Canadian folk band Wild Rivers. The song was produced by Clark with additional vocal production by Dell’Unto.
With most of the songwriting team based in Nashville, the sound of “Love Like That” is modern in a Nashville kind of way: straight-to-the-point storytelling, a restraint, elegant production, and a strong focus on the vocals.
In contrast to many of Phillip’s radio-friendly singles—“Raging Fire,” “Unpack Your Heart”— drums are much more subdued (they seem to be mostly programmed at the start) while energetic claps propel the song forward. Phillip’s acoustic guitar, however, is as clear and beautiful as ever, especially during the opening bars of the song. The truth is “Love Like That” is perfectly primed for the radio, and that’s a great thing; I’m sure Phillip still has many intricate, dark, eclectic, experimental songs up his sleeve and we will be hearing those in an eventual album.
One thing that Clark’s production does as well, is highlight the quality of the writing, which is superb. Both verses and chorus are instantly memorable — I have been singing that “love like thaaaaat…” melody for three days straight — while the lyrics are specific in a way that we haven’t heard from Phillip before (“windows down going 85,” “that sweater you have been living in”) perhaps a little hint of Phillip embracing his inner-country. The song has multiple hooks and no solos–this is fresh 2022 pop and I love this directness of choice.
Upbeat, romantic, earnest, “Love Like That” falls very much in the tradition of “Home,” “Gone Gone Gone,” or “Unpack Your Heart,” — songs that tap into universal messages of love. Indeed, as the video of the song brilliantly shows, the meaning of the lyrics deepens and transcends as soon as footage of Phillip and Hannah’s son Patch is shown — a love like that is also the love of parents towards their children or the love for a spouse after they become a mother or a father.
The video of “Love Like That”— as it was released simultaneously its images are now strongly linked to the message of the song — further points to a kind of American nostalgia, where love, family, a country road, and a simple life are the ultimate goals. This is no affectation: Phillip has always embraced those values and the song demonstrates the beauty and appeal of those goals. For the listener/viewer, the song is reassuring and hopeful, especially after two years of profound tragedy due to the pandemic.
The single’s artwork is great as well. Photographed by Ryan Nolan, a Nashville-based photographer, and director, it shows Phillip against a faint blue sky and a setting sun (or rising?). He’s wearing a simple white t-shirt, blue shirt combo and multiple images of Phillip superimposing one another until we get the final one of Phillip looking down. It captures that country, nostalgic vibe, while also being elegant and refined. It’s just gorgeous.
Phillip has been writing music for the last three years and it is wonderful to see him return with such a self-assured and personal song. It’s a hint of what’s to come and we cannot be more excited about it!
Buy/stream “Love Like That” everywhere you get your music. And visit Phillip Phillips’ official site for any upcoming announcements.