Tomorrow's Sounds Today

Last updated
Tomorrow's Sounds Today
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 31, 2000
Recorded2000 at The Dog Bone; Burbank, CA
Genre Country
Label Reprise
Producer Pete Anderson
Dwight Yoakam chronology
Tomorrow's Sounds Today
South of Heaven, West of Hell
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 75/100 [1]
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Entertainment Weekly C+ [3]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [4]

Tomorrow's Sounds Today is the eleventh studio album by country music artist Dwight Yoakam. This album was released on October 31, 2000. It rose to No. 7 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. There were two charting singles among its tracks: "What Do You Know About Love" at No. 26 and "I Want You to Want Me" (a cover of the 1979 Cheap Trick hit) at No. 49 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Also included are two duets with Buck Owens, who was a big influence on Yoakam's musical style. It was also Yoakam's last studio album for the Reprise label. After that album's release, Yoakam left Reprise for Warner Bros. in 2001.



In the Nineties, Yoakam had been a musician who dabbled in movies, but by 2000 he was absorbed in a film project of his own called South of Heaven - West of Hell. This left his music career in the lurch in the latter part of the decade, with his releases becomng more sporadic. Yoakam and producer-guitarist Pete Anderson had helped revitalize the genre of country music in the late Eighties and early Nineties, scoring a triple platinum high point with This Time in 1993. However, with the release of Gone in 1995, Yoakam’s commercial stock took a nosedive, and his growing preoccupation with acting left Anderson perplexed, with the producer later reflecting in 2003:

Dwight has, still has and has had the potential to be, you know, the most important country artist of his time. And that’s my personal opinion, and why he would leave, or descend from, or not maintain a mantle of that structure to become a - um, no, I barely, I don’t know what kind of – a character actor? A sub-player? You know, he’s sort of gotten typecast pretty rapidly as like, kind of a psycho or he plays these mean parts…I just don’t understand why being the most important country artist of your decade isn’t as important or something that you could sustain and then control your acting career. [5]

While Yoakam nursed his acting bug, country radio’s youth-obsessed fixation continued and the singer developed a strained relationship with his label Reprise. The sole hit during this period was a cover of the Queen song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” which hit #12 on the country singles chart and rose to #64 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song appeared on the 1999 compilation Last Chance for a Thousand Years: Dwight Yoakam's Greatest Hits from the 90's, which was followed by an acoustic album of remakes the following year, and these two releases lend credence to the notion that Yoakam was consumed to a degree by his film-making aspirations. As biographer Don McCleese put it, if the singer “had sounded a little distracted on the offhand Tomorrow’s Sounds Today, he was plainly preoccupied with South of Heaven – West of Hell – a film written, directed, and produced by Dwight Yoakam, starring Dwight Yoakam, with music by Dwight Yoakam.” [6]

Recording and composition

Yoakam's 1998 release A Long Way Home was a return to a more country sound, and Tomorrow’s Sounds Today takes this approach even further; in fact, it is arguably his straightest country studio album since 1988’s Buenos Noches from Lonely Room. Like A Long Way Home, this LP has a brighter musical atmosphere than the “noirish streak” [7] that ran through previous works like This Time and Gone. On the first single “What Do You Know About Love” the narrator is cautiously optimistic over a new love, admitting “My heart’s so often been wrong,” while on the opener “Love Caught Up with Me,” the narrator surrenders completely with the lines “Baby, I couldn’t hide, no matter how hard I tried…” Pete Anderson’s guitar work on “Free to Go” evokes the Allman Brothers over a Johnny Cash rhythm as the song ponders the elusive nature of love. Anderson also displays some fine fretwork on the rocking “A Place to Cry,” but for the most part Yoakam and Anderson keep it country, emphasizing Gary Morse’s pedal steel and returning to their roots, as if they sensed their partnership was nearing its end. In his AllMusic review of the album Hal Horowitz writes:

Yoakam goes the Hank Williams Sr. route on "A Promise You Can't Keep" and especially "The Heartaches Are Free," which sounds so similar to a Hank Sr. tune in melody and vocal inflection, you'll find yourself double checking the liner notes to be sure it's a Yoakam original…song titles like "A World of Blue," "A Place to Cry," "The Sad Side of Town," and "Time Spent Missing You" show that Yoakam is still drenched in the spilt tears, heartbroken brand of country that has proven to be so lucrative, artistically and commercially, in the past. Best of all, he makes it seems easy. [8]

Further cementing the full circle vibe are the two duets with Buck Owens that conclude the album. Yoakam coaxed Owens out of semi-retirement in 1988 and scored his first #1 country hit with their remake of “Streets of Bakersfield,” and they return to the Tex-Mex flavour with “Alright, I’m Wrong” (Anderson’s only writing credit on a Yoakam LP) and the spirited “I Was There.”

Perhaps trying to capture lightning in a bottle after the recent hit with Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” Yoakam tried his hand at another 70's rock classic, Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me,” but it was not as successful.


AllMusic praises the LP, opining, “With Tomorrow's Sounds Today, Dwight Yoakam has fashioned a contemporary roots-conscious country album whose qualities, like the artist's distinctive style, are timeless.” [8] However, in his book A Thousand Miles from Nowhere, ex-Rolling Stone writer Don McCleese takes a dim view, calling it “an album of retrenchment, one that reinforces Yoakam’s persona as a county artist rather than extending it, with too many of the cuts sounding like retreads.” [9]

Track listing

All songs written by Dwight Yoakam except where noted.

  1. "Love Caught Up to Me" - 3:50
  2. "What Do You Know About Love" - 2:56
  3. "Time Spent Missing You" - 3:05
  4. "Free to Go" - 4:48
  5. "A Promise You Can't Keep" - 3:11
  6. "A Place to Cry" - 4:35
  7. "The Sad Side of Town" (Yoakam, Buck Owens) - 2:52
  8. "Dreams of Clay" - 3:51
  9. "For Love's Sake" - 3:06
  10. "The Heartaches Are Free" - 2:55
  11. "A World of Blue" - 2:21
  12. "I Want You to Want Me" (Rick Nielsen) - 3:28
  13. "Alright, I'm Wrong" (Pete Anderson, Cisco) - 4:16
    • duet with Buck Owens
  14. "I Was There" (Owens) - 3:04
    • duet with Buck Owens


From liner notes. [10]



YearSingleChart positions
US Country
2000"What Do You Know About Love"26
2001"I Want You to Want Me"49
"I Was There" (with Buck Owens)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

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  1. "Critic Reviews for Tomorrow's Sounds Today". Metacritic . Retrieved February 12, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. Allmusic review
  3. Scherman, Tony (November 3, 2000). "Tomorrow's Sounds Today Review". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved February 12, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. Skanse, Richard (December 7, 2000). "Tomorrow's Sounds Today Review". Rolling Stone . Retrieved February 12, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. McLeese 2012, p. 155-156.
  6. McLeese 2012, p. 174.
  7. McLeese 2012, p. 161.
  8. 1 2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Los Lobos - Biography". AllMusic . Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. McLeese 2012, p. 169.
  10. Tomorrow's Sounds Today (CD insert). Dwight Yoakam. Reprise Records. 2000. 47827.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  11. "Dwight Yoakam Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  12. "Dwight Yoakam Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  13. "Top Country Albums – Year-End 2001". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2020.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)