Written by Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, and Keith Urban
“Female” is two half-finished songs stitched together.
The verses are intriguing, with a man trying to empathize with what it feels like to be a woman in a world that doesn’t value women. At one point in the second verse, Urban even brushes up against the idea of rape culture, though he switches to Adam and Eve so quickly afterward that it’s easy to miss it.
But then you have the chorus, completely disconnected from the idea of trying to understand what it’s like to be a woman and instead falling into the trap of defining womanhood through relationships with men. It’s a laundry list of nonsense, providing equal space for the Virgin Mary and whatever “Technicolor river wild” is supposed to mean.
Urban’s sentiment is kindhearted, but its execution ends up reinforcing country music’s biggest ongoing problem: its ongoing marginalization of female artists. Having a man singing about the female experience is a poor substitute for providing space for a diverse collection of female voices.