Dangit, Chris Bandi! You gotta warn a guy about songs like “Would Have Loved Her” in advance. The piano-led ballad leaves you reaching for tissues before the chorus wraps, and then he starts a second verse that should come with a sign that reads “Game Over.”
“Would Have Loved Her” is a time-stopper told best with a stripped-down performance like the one he gives above. A radio version of the song adds synthetic percussion and guitarwork to make it a more significant arrangement, but the reality is, this is the kind of song you pay to see performed live. Credit Zach Kale (“I Hope”) for helping Bandi find all the right words to make this career-breaking song effective on every level. You kind of want to go hug him by the end, and you definitely feel like you know him.
Bandi has yet to tell the story of “Would Have Loved Her,” but we’re betting that — like Luke Combs “Even Though I’m Leaving” — it’s a collage of stories, or else he’d probably not be able to get through it. The song finds a man speaking to his father’s gravestone, telling him in casual language about the girl he met, married and made a mother in successive verses and a bridge. That dichotomy of innocence against death and heartache is timeless when done right. It has to feel real, but not so personal that fans can’t apply their own imagery to the action.
He finds the sweet spot, and then — perhaps just because he can — pours it on with one final verse that compares his new baby girl to his old man. However, there’s nothing gratuitous about “Would Have Loved Her,” he just needed to complete the circle of life. Credit the songwriters for being unafraid to go for all the tears.
Chris Bandi’s “Would Have Loved Her” Lyrics:
Hey pops, I ain’t been around / I know, I was just down at momma’s house / And she told me I should swing on by and see ya ‘fore I roll outta here / Yeah I, I think I met the one / But I, I don’t wanna jump the gun / We’ve been out a few times and it feels like I’ve known her for years.
She’s from a small town just like you / She’s got a smile that could light up the room /
She’s pretty as a hallelujah / But don’t let it fool ya / ‘Cause she’ll dance when she drinks / And she’ll just say what she thinks / She makes me a better man like you did / I miss you and wish you could just meet each other / ‘Cause I bet you would have loved her.
Hey pops, that girl I told ya ’bout / Yeah we, we’ve been married couple months now / And we saved you a spot next to momma on that front church pew / Yeah, I bet you would’ve loved our wedding band / I bet you would’ve slid in and stole a dance / I bet you would’ve cried / I bet you would’ve laughed / I bet you would’ve loved it when she calls you dad.
Hey pops, you know I hate to cry / But I, I just let them rain that night / That I held your grandbaby in my hands for the very first time. ‘
Cause she’s got brown eyes just like you / Her momma’s glow that could light up the room / She’s pretty as a hallelujah / And that smile that’ll do something to ya / She’ll dance when I sing / And she’s my everything / She makes me a better man like you did / I miss you and wish you could just meet each other / ‘Cause I know you would have loved her / Oh yeah / Dad, I know you would’ve loved her.