That's Just the Way It Is

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"That's Just the Way It Is"
That's Just the Way It Is.jpg
Single by Phil Collins
from the album ...But Seriously
B-side "Broadway Chorus"
Released28 July 1990 [1]
Genre Soft rock
Label Atlantic, Virgin, WEA
Songwriter(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s) Phil Collins, Hugh Padgham
Phil Collins singles chronology
"Something Happened on the Way to Heaven"
"That's Just the Way It Is"
"Do You Remember?"

"That's Just the Way It Is" is a single performed by Phil Collins and David Crosby that was released in 1990 from the 1989 album ...But Seriously . The song was only released as a single in Europe and Australasia, while "Do You Remember?" was instead released in the United States. The song reached #26 in the UK Singles Chart.


The song, according to Collins, is an anti-war ballad that heavily deals with The Troubles of Northern Ireland. The song itself was positively received by most critics. The B-side to the song was "Broadway Chorus", the demo version of "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven".

Song history

The song is an anti-war ballad, about the conflict in Northern Ireland, The Troubles. [2] [3] [4] Collins said, in an interview, "It's about Northern Ireland as far as I am concerned. Which in England we are used to it all the time, I mean Ireland of course, it's on the doorstep but everywhere else in the world it's... just another news report, but if you are living in England and you just sort of constantly [hear of] people getting blown to smithereens because this thing that's been going on for the last twenty—but also for a lot longer in Ireland, it's only just come to the front in the last twenty years. You see newsreels of kids throwing petrol bombs because their brothers throw them and then their dads throw them and their dad's dad and it's just bred, inbred, now this violence and I just thought someone somewhere, and it's got to be from both sides, has got to say 'Hang on, life means more than this. This has got to stop.'" [5]

David Crosby is featured in backing vocals in the song, and even sings a duet with Collins at times. During live performances of the song, Collins would precede it with a monologue about what he thought were the "evils of war". [6] The San Jose Mercury News criticized this, saying, "But instead of reinforcing his persona as rock's Good Old Bloke, it came across as a piece of show biz, as if he wasn't feeling it but simply reading it." [6] The B-side of the single was "Broadway Chorus", a demo version of another hit single from the album, "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven".

Track listing

  1. "That's Just the Way It Is" – 5:19
  2. "Broadway Chorus" ("Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" Demo Version) – 4:17
  3. "In The Air Tonight" (Extended Version) – 7:35


Don McLeese of The Chicago Sun-Times said that David Crosby was "used more effectively" on this song than any other song which had Crosby on the album. [7] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette however, said that the song was "so lyrically vague it lacked punch". [8] Jon Pareles of The New York Times thought that the song "[echoed] Bruce Hornsby in tone and title". [9] The San Jose Mercury News thought the song was "pretty". [10] Lennox Samuels of The Dallas Morning News thought that the song "starts out as if it is going to be another "In the Air Tonight"..."before it moves into being an anti-war song". [11] Meanwhile, The Atlanta Journal Constitution thought that Crosby's vocals "lends challenging harmony". [12]

Chart performance


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