5 Years Ago: Dierks Bentley Releases ‘Black’
On May 27, 2016, Dierks Bentley released his eighth studio album, Black. Five years later, its title track and third single, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, is popular on the video-focused app TikTok -- so much so, in fact, that there's a Make My World Go Black EP, featuring songs from the album, on Spotify and iTunes.
“She was both brave and generous to let me write about our relationship as the foundation of a lot of these songs,” Bentley says of his wife. Of "Black," he adds, “I’ve talked about how [Black] explores some of the darker corners and edges of the heart, what happens in the black of night, and this song was really central to forming the rest of the project.”
Indeed, Bentley calls Black a "relationship-based record," though its songs aren't all traditional love stories. Its lead single, for example -- the No. 1 "Somewhere on a Beach" -- finds its protagonist getting over an ex by "gettin' sun / gettin' some / And I ain't slept in a week." The second single, "Different for Girls," meanwhile, explores differing perspectives on a breakup through a collaboration with Elle King.
"Different for Girls" was also a No. 1 single, but the fourth and final single from Black, "What the Hell Did I Say," did not reach the country radio chart Top 40. Much as in the begging-for-forgiveness album cut "Roses and a Time Machine," its protagonist is full of regret -- though in this case, it's because he left a drunken voicemail for his significant other. Turns out, she loved it -- and that's the problem, because he can't remember what he said.
In addition to King, Black features guest appearances from Maren Morris ("I'll Be the Moon") and Trombone Shorty ("Mardi Gras"). Jerry Douglas, Charlie Worsham and Jaren Johnson of the Cadillac Three are among the musicians playing on the record, while Jessi Alexander, Natalie Hemby and Hillary Lindsey are among the background vocalists.
Black debuted at No. 1 on the country albums chart and at No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart -- Bentley's highest position on that chart ever -- and has been certified gold by the RIAA. The album was also nominated for Album of the Year at both the ACM and CMA Awards, and "Different for Girls" earned Bentley and King a Best Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy nod.
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