Story Behind the Song: John Paul White, ‘The Hurting Kind’
"The Hurting Kind," the title track of John Paul White's 2019 solo album, takes on themes of abuse and speaks from a woman's perspective. Originally, White was daunted by the prospect of singing something so personal from a female point of view; however, after seeking advice from his wife, he hopes that the track encompasses a number of different experiences and backgrounds.
To learn more about "The Hurting Kind," and for more details about how White wrote the song, in his own words, read on.
All I had was the title, and I had no idea what it meant. And even when I only had the title, I thought, "That sounds like the title of the record. I don't even know what the song is, but I know that's what the record's called."
And as I went down the road of that song, certain things just sounded right and felt right, and I realized that for whatever reason, it felt like I was singing from the female perspective. And I realized the song was about abuse: "Your love is the hurting kind."
I played it for my wife, and I was like, "Should I pitch this to someone else?" She was like, "No, I completely feel this from your perspective."
But if I had set out to write a song about abuse, it would have sucked. It would have been so on the nose. It probably would have been completely overwrought. It would just be too much, too ham-handed. So I'm really proud of that process, that led to a song that I really love and that can mean a lot of things for a lot of people.
I'm thrilled that my children are growing up watching [the conversation about abuse and privilege] happen. Because they're not as ingrained with the privilege that I grew up with ... In their lifetime, so much has happened. I told them, "Keep your eyes open, because people will be talking about this era that we're in right now for years. This is a lot of heavy stuff going down, and you need to be aware and pay attention."
That was scary for me to write about, as a male, but from a female perspective. Like, who the hell do I think I am? Because I don't know anybody else's plight. I don't know how other people feel about anything. But playing it for my wife, she was like, "You know, I think we all feel that emotion in different ways, but we all feel it the same as well." So I tried to keep it vague enough that anyone's story could fit in it.