Meaning Behind “Wait In The Truck” By HARDY and Lainey Wilson

HARDY and Lainey Wilson teamed up for what could likely be the best modern-day murder ballad in all of country music. A far cry from the pop country that dominates the market, it tackles hard topics like domestic violence while feeling like a throwback to classic 90s—and earlier—country releases. In this article, we’ll talk about the meaning behind their song wait in the truck and go over some of the other tracks that helped pave the way for it in the past. 

The Success of wait in the truck

The track wait in the truck was released on August 29, 2022, as the lead single from HARDY’s second studio album The Mockingbird & The Crow. It wound up being incredibly popular, rising to number 23 on the Hot 100, number two on the Country Airplay, and number five on the Hot Country Songs charts.

It quickly earned a platinum certification in the US and even appeared on Billboard’s year-end charts for both the Hot Country Songs and Digital Song Sales charts. 

HARDY - wait in the truck (feat. Lainey Wilson) (Official Music Video)

The music video behind the track was just as big a hit as the song itself was. It followed the track to a “T,” earning quite a lot of accolades along the way. Some critics described it as being worthy of the Video of the Year Award. It ended up taking home the Collaborative Music Video of the Year Award at the 2023 CMT Music Awards and was nominated for Video of the Year. It did win the ACM Award for Visual Media of the Year.

The Real Meaning of wait in the truck

The track wait in the truck isn’t particularly a difficult song to understand the meaning of, but it did come from an interesting origin. Apparently, the track first became an idea during a conversation between HARDY and Hunter Phelps. The two were shooting the bull but ended up discussing what they would hypothetically do if someone harmed their significant other.

HARDY’s answer was simply that he would have them direct himself to the offender’s home, and then tell them to wait in the truck. While the implied aftermath made the two laugh, it struck a nerve and sounded like a decent song title. Thus, this track was given its first breath of life. 

May 28, 2012 – Memorial Day Car Show Hosted by the North Star Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club. Image source: Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The story told through the lyrics of wait in the truck is—at least mostly—fictional. It weaves a tale of domestic violence and the seemingly random man who took justice into his own hands. 

The narrator seems to get lost in the backwoods, near a small town that he had never been to before. It’s the middle of the night as he rolls through, but he notices a woman on the side of the road. Deciding to give her a ride through the stormy evening, he quickly notices that she’s beaten and bloody.

Well, she was bruised and broke from head to toe
With a tear in her blood-stained shirt
She didn’t tell the whole truth, but she didn’t have to
I knew what had happened to her

He knew what had happened to her, despite her not telling him exactly what had happened. It’s easy to assume that the sight enraged him, but he doesn’t let it show. Instead, he asks her where the guy was who had done such a thing to her and drives over to the house. 

January 31, 2020 – Lainey Wilson performing at the Lyric in Oxford, Mississippi. Image source: Ben Childers, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our anti-hero is described by the woman in the song, voiced by Lainey Wilson. It describes both her feelings about the narrator and his mindset after finding her in only a few lines. 

I don’t know if he’s an angel
‘Cause angels don’t do what he did
He was hellbent to find the man behind
All the whiskey scars I hid

January 13, 2007 – Lonely angel. Image source: Alexander Boden from Bonn, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

He’s a man of focus, ready to avenge her despite not knowing her for more than a few minutes. To her, he’s a hero. But from an outside perspective, he can’t be an angel because his next acts are far from holy. Her lines imply that he drives her to the abuser’s home and then tells her to wait in the truck as he heads inside. 

So I kicked in his double-wide door
I let the hammer drop before he got
To that 12 he was reachin’ for
I didn’t try to hide my pistol
I didn’t even try to run
I just sat on the porch, smokin’ one of his cigarettes
And waited for the cops to come

The next lines of the song tell us exactly what ended up happening, though with vocabulary that some may be unfamiliar with. Our narrator kicked the door of the house in when it wasn’t answered and shot the abuser without any hesitation. Of course, he doesn’t regret his actions and waits for the police to arrive to receive whatever judgment is passed onto our narrator. 

July 6, 2011 – Robben Island Prison. Image source: Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The end of the track is from the perspective of the narrator, now in prison. He’s spent the last five years in jail, but the woman he picked up that night still comes to visit him in jail. To him, jail sucks, but it’s nowhere near as bad as hell, the place he believes he sent the abuser from earlier in the song when he killed him. 

In country music, domestic violence is often a topic that’s reserved only for female singers. Many of those songs end up being revenge ballads, killing or ruining the man who has abused them and taking righteous justice into their own hands. This track stands out by being from a male perspective, the kind of man who protects those around him. There is always a debate to be had over whether or not his actions were morally right or wrong. Many can make an argument for both sides. 

June 29, 2012 – Symbol of justice. Image source: DonkeyHotey, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the end, the meaning behind the song is a hypothetical scenario that sees someone you love being abused. It describes the path of revenge—or being an avenger—taking the law and justice into your own hands because you know a satisfactory outcome isn’t going to come through normal channels. Many people were able to relate to the message behind the track, even if they haven’t or wouldn’t be able to act in a similar manner. That’s one of the biggest reasons for its success. 

Other Famous Murder Ballads

June 26, 2016 – Christian cross near the Salagou Lake in the commune of Celles, Hérault, France. Image source: Christian Ferrer, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Country music has a long history of the “murder ballad,” a term describing a song in which someone kills someone else, almost always for some justified reason. Typically, it’s the protagonist who does the murder, and generally, they do it because they’ve been wronged in some way. In most cases, the murderer in the track is painted as a hero, though many of the songs will also ponder the morality of their actions, especially through a Christian lens. 

Murder ballads are always scathing and emotional. In almost all of them, the listener—and especially the person singing the song—sees the killing as almost a form of karmic justice. The person who winds up dead had it coming for one reason or another, justifying the actions of the killer thanks to their evil ways.

Numerous big-name country artists have dipped their toes into the murder ballad pool at one time or another, with some of the most epic and legendary tracks in all of country music falling into the category. These aren’t your modern country-frat boy songs on the radio, these are deeper. 

The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia

The most famous of these has to be The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia. Vicki Lawrence was the original singer of the ballad, helping create the term “Southern Gothic” by its very existence. Her version rose to the top of the charts, but it would be Reba McEntire’s version 20 years later that we remember even better, despite it finishing lower on the charts. 

Miranda Lambert is no stranger to murder ballads either, though her songs that fall into the category see the abused woman taking matters into her own hands and not being rescued. Gunpowder & Lead is one of her most famous entries, seeing the protagonist waiting for her abusive partner to return home with a gun in her hand. 

The Thunder Rolls (live)

Finally, it’s impossible to not include Garth Brooks’ The Thunder Rolls on this list, especially because Lainey Wilson stated it was one of the inspirations for the track we’re discussing in this article. His 1990 music video for the song was banned from CMT, mostly due to a wife murdering her cheating and abusive husband after he comes home from a rendezvous one too many times. 

Carrie Underwood - Two Black Cadillacs

There are a ton of other examples of amazing murder ballads in country music like Carrie Underwood’s Two Black Cadillacs, Garth Brooks’ Papa Loved Mama, and Martina McBride’s Independence Day. But even those leave out the oldest ones we know of. To discuss them all would be too far outside of the scope of this article, though they’re some of the best country music tracks you’re going to be able to find.

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