“Every Girl in This Town”
Written by Erik Dylan, Connie Harrington, and Caitlyn Smith
Trisha Yearwood has been empowering women through her unique small town perspective since the beginning of her career.
Launching with “She’s in Love With the Boy” and, one year later, “Walkaway Joe,” she humanized the small town experience of young girls with twin tales of first love. The endings were so different that it was easy to miss the common thread that bound them: disregard what the men have to say and listen to the wisdom of your small town mother.
As she grew older, so did the women that she sang about. “XXX’s and OOO’s” captured the ambition of a young woman struggling to “make it in her daddy’s world,” where she has to do all the work he had to do as well as the domestic responsibilities that still aren’t being shared. By the time of “Real Live Woman,” she was anticipating the body positive movement and embracing her right to take up space and use her voice, no longer apologizing for the things that she believes and says.
She’s old enough now to dispense the wisdom reserved for the mamas in her earliest hits, and the timing couldn’t be better. Hopefully doubling as both lead single and thesis statement for Yearwood’s first country album in twelve years, “Every Girl in This Town” is a bold record that tempers the big dreams of a small town girl with the stark reality of the forces that will do everything to keep her down. The song has an extra potency being delivered by a small town girl who triumphed over the resistances built in to the culture she was born into.
So the whimsy and hopefulness of the first verse, with its ferris wheel and yellow porchlight, rub up against the stark truth of the second, where the imagery of baptism is used brilliantly as a metaphor for the forces that will hold a girl back, regardless of her character or personal choices: “Every girl in this town is somebody’s daughter. An angel or devil, no matter what they call her. If they try to hold you down under that water, just come up baptized, baby. Let it make you stronger.”
A woman of a certain age faces the dual challenges of sexism and ageism, being marginalized and silenced once she’s accumulated enough wisdom to give sage advice to the young girls who are being marginalized and silenced because they are too young to have anything meaningful to say. The conversation between the two needs to be heard now more than ever. This stunning single is as good a place as any to start.