Maddie & Tae
Written by Taylor Dye, Maddie Marlow and Aaron Scherz
Maddie & Tae made a big, bold, attention grabbing statement with their breakthrough hit “Girl in a Country Song”, which rocked and twanged all the way to number one while laying bare the problems with country music’s treatment of women under the bro-country regime. Wisely, the two women show an entirely different creative side with their second single, showing that they are not one-trick ponies.
“Fly” is an inspirational ballad, the likes of which might be easy to dismiss if it were not delivered with such conviction. There’s a sense of genuine emotional involvement as the two women blend their voices together on the song, largely opting for subtlety in lieu of McBride-style belting, but with a sense of gradually increasing urgency. It’s the first time we’ve really gotten a chance to hear what beautiful harmonies they have.
The message of fearlessly pursuing one’s dreams and goals is not a novel one, nor is it here applied to any specific character or situation, but the hook “You can learn to fly on the way down” lingers in the mind after listening – a beautiful encapsulation of the song’s central point that one should not be deterred by fear of failure.
While few would consider this to be a “traditional” country record, the arrangement interestingly demonstrates that a non-traditional arrangement can still maintain a palpable country identity. Banjo and fiddle feature prominently in the arrangement, not in a format-pandering sense, but in a way that enhances the emotional impact of the song. It’s a welcome reminder that country music can evolve without eschewing its signature sounds.
Though they’ve already become the first two-female duo in nine years to top the country singles chart, here’s hoping Maddie & Tae’s career has plenty of gas in the tank. Mainstream country music needs more strong female voices, and if their early work is any indication, it sounds like Maddie & Tae have much to give.