“Girl in a Country Song”
Maddie & Tae
Written by Tae Lynn Elizabeth Dye, Maddie Marlow, and Aaron Scherz
“I ain’t your tan-legged Juliet. Can I put on some real clothes now?”
Maddie & Tae give voice to the girls who have become the ornaments in what seems like every uptempo country song of the last ten years. I really could quote the whole thing, line by line, and would have to if I wanted to share everything in the song worth quoting. It’s that good.
“Girl in a Country Song” is all about the disappearing of the female voice in country music. We talk about it a lot in terms of how few female artists get radio play, but we need to talk more about how the female experience has been largely silenced. Maddie & Tae touch on this when they sing, “Conway and George Strait never did it this way back in the old days.”
She’s right. Those two men have over eighty #1 singles between them, and part of the reason their fans stayed so loyal is because they wrote about real women, and the real men who love them because they are real women, not pinup fantasies that look great in the background. Too few songs today are moving past the male gaze when they talk about women, focusing only on how they look and how that drives the guy crazy. Yes, it’s shallow and dumbed down and often misogynist. But more than anything else, it’s boring.
Maddie & Tae have written and recorded the antidote to something that ails country music right now, and thankfully, they’re not offering it up with any sugar to help that medicine go down. I hope that it’s widely heard, and I hope the ones who need to hear it, listen.
Farce the Music has the lyrics and a listening link here.
Wow, a new song that has some awesome lyrics and is catchy as heck. I think I found my new favorite Country song of the summer.
I like what this song has to say, so I wish I liked the general execution of it a little more. The production doesn’t grab me and I’m a little disoriented by the talking part at the very end. The ladies sounded more like girls than women, a little whiny and giggly rather than confident, as this song should call for .
Wow. You can read A LOT into this song; the lyrics, the delivery, the presentation, the label it’s on, everything. I think I’m with Leann, the spoken/laughing stuff at the end decreases the believability. But if they can get this played on the radio, more power to them.
Too few songs today are moving past the male gaze when they talk about women, focusing only on how they look and how that drives the guy crazy. Yes, it’s shallow and dumbed down and often misogynist. But more than anything else, it’s boring.
I’d probably say it’s exhausting more than boring, but a resounding yes to all of this. There’s some truly insidious stuff going on in the culture when it comes to sexual politics, and too much of contemporary country is all too eager to normalize the mindset that women are things, rather than people. So hi-fives and handshakes to Maddie & Tae (and Aaron) for a pointed response.
Like Leeann, though, I’m on board with the message here a whole lot more than I am with the delivery. Still, the message is a vitally important one that’s long overdue.
I think the fact that they are girls and sound like girls gives it added punch. The girls in the background that aren’t supposed to talk are talking, and they’re not happy.
I think that an older artist, even in their twenties, couldn’t sing it in this voice. They could give advice to the girls (i.e. Carrie Underwood’s “Nobody Ever Told You”), but not convincingly be them.
This is kinda my dream Taylor Swift song, what I would’ve loved to hear her say on her first or second album. There is something deliciously subversive about this entire record.
Like I said, I see this as a perfect summer song. It’s uptempo , fun, but a song hat still has substance. It has so much working for it that it’s easy for me to look past the “girly” attitude and production.
Wow super song and what a great lyrics, awesome summer song
I have a few nitpicks, but wow…………..it is refreshing to see recording artists finally call the songwriting oligarchy on Music Row and label executives out through song, let alone from a debut act! =D
That said, there are three criticisms I have of this track that I would be remiss not to point out.
Firstly, the chorus is marred by “loudness wars”. It aims for this wall-of-sound that just doesn’t suit their style well and nearly drowns out their vocal and, thus, the potency of their message. I happen to think the rest of this track’s production is pretty solid and a bit more “country sounding” than the average mainstream release at the moment, but it could have done without the overly-compressed chorus.
Secondly, I know this may sound unfair to some of you, but I felt their vocal delivery was a bit exaggerated and forced. I get that part of it may have been an attempt to infuse sarcasm into their performance and play the part of the misogynistic caricature one too many of the worst breed of “bro-country” songs depict…………but it just doesn’t showcase their voices necessarily well and somewhat got on my nerves for the same reason Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” did.
Finally, a minor lyrical nitpick. Overall, lyrically and thematically, the song is on-point in terms of tossing lyrics from the likes of “Redneck Crazy”, “My Kinda Party”, “Get Me Some Of That”, “Get Your Shine On” and “Hey Girl”, among others, right back at the likes of music executives and songwriters most responsible for pushing the worst of bro-country cliches to the forefront (most notably the Peach Pickers, Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Ashley Gorley, Florida-Georgia Line themselves, etc.)
However, there is a lyric in the outro of the track that honestly bothered me somewhat: “Can I put on some REAL clothes now?” I added emphasis to “real” because I can’t help but feel, at best, it implies that daisy dukes, bikini tops and suntans are fake or phony fashion or ways to express one’s self………..and, at worst, is a subtle form of slut-shaming.
I may totally get the general message of the song and obviously wholeheartedly support it………….but was that last line really necessary? I don’t think it was. To me, it comes across as a bit judgmental.
I’d say, in all honesty, this is that type of song that deserves a solid A for its conviction, courage and overall message…………but I’d probably give a B- in terms of overall composition and execution.
So, I’ll give this a rounded grade of B+. Needless to say, it’ll be exciting to see how this performs commercially.
I’ll also honestly add that I still consider Melody Williamson’s “There’s No Country Here” a superior indictment of the worst trends in Music Row as of late.
I really like the lyrics but I’ll wait to hear the song til it’s on i-tunes. My MacBook doesn’t have the VLC players noted on FTM. Based on the comments, I’m not missing much on the vocal end.
Admittedly it isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread (and notice the lyrics also refer to Helen Reddy’s 1975 pop smash “That Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” as well). But it’s a hell of a lot better, in my opinion, than the bro-country crap that’s glutting country radio. To paraphrase Foghorn Leghorn, listening to Bro-Country’s like backing into a brace and bit: Y’get bored! (LOL)
Here’s my career prediction for Maddie & Tae:
1) This song becomes very buzzy and is briefly one of the most talked about new country songs. A similar buzz will follow this song, as well as the duo, in a similar way to how “Merry Go ‘Round” and Kacey Musgraves courted a brief country media frenzy, but not as big.
2) This song sells pretty well but fails to make the top 5 on radio. It might only peak in the teens but it will sell better than similar radio hits. The song becomes a popular cover song for teenage girls and somebody will perform it on a reality singing show.
3) They develop a fairly loyal fan base amongst female teenage country fans and quickly get a desirable opening slot, maybe for Hunter Hayes or Lady Antebellum.
4) This song fails to become a huge hit and their future releases never live up to the initial buzz around this duo.
There are a few reasons I think they will fail to become huge stars.
1) Country radio still doesn’t want to play female artists in heavy rotation. Big Machine will do their best to get this played but it simply won’t go number one. Their hasn’t been a successful all-female country act since SheDaisy and their career ended about 10 years ago.
2) Many of the fans they acquire will be young females who list Luke Bryan as their favorite artist. They will like this song because it’s catchy and clever but don’t really share the sentiment of the song so they’ll forget about it a year after it first becomes popular. They’re still perfectly fine with bro-country attitudes in songs.
3) They will have a lot of trouble getting male fans. Two 18-year-old girls playing guitar and singing pop songs really only works for one demographic. The last time it worked super successfully was with Aly & AJ. Without much appeal to male fans, it will be tough for them to become superstars.
4) They’re probably too young at this point and will follow in the path of other recent female country acts like Jana Kramer, Danielle Bradberry and Maggie Rose. Mostly they’re only relevant to a certain group of people.
5) They won’t be able to record another song as buzzworthy as this and this song won’t be big enough to sustain a career off of.
The thing that I’ll give this song’s production is that while it doesn’t fit my taste, it should work within the sound of country radio tastes right now. So, I’m hoping it’ll take off enough in popularity that it will shine enough of a spotlight on the problems with current country music’s treatment of women that the girls who are belting it out will think about it an will have it in the back of their minds as they’re listening to these other songs on the radio. It may be a pipe dream, but that’s my hope.
@six string Richie….shouldn’t we see what else they have in the tank before you relegate them to the bargain bin?
Sorry your dreams didn’t work out.
I feel like I should apologize a little for my two huge comments. I wrote them quickly because they were the first ideas that filled my head. The same thoughts went through my head when Kacey Musgraves came out. Looking at them now, they seem a bit mean spirited.
I do hope these girls do well and I hope they can slow down bro country’s growth. I like their song and I see potential in them. I don’t think they will be super successful but I would love to be proved wrong.
I didn’t mean to come off as mean spirited.
I really like what I was able to hear of the song (Mac here, so had to hear a snippet in a video clip), but I hope they’re not just used as a rallying point for what’s wrong with Country. If they become that tied to the cause, they may get left behind when the industry leaves Country Bros behind. They have a bunch of industry veterans behind them who know what they’re doing, so I think they’ve got a fighting chance. The buzz is already started to get loud, and it hasn’t even gotten airplay.
Six String Richie summed up my thoughts / questions about the potential of this song and group succinctly. Big Machine and Scott Borchetta are really powerful, but country radio just isn’t playing women right now, outside of a couple token exceptions. Also, I figured that a certain portion of the “bro-country” audience aren’t gonna take kindly to a song that specifically slags a bunch of popular country songs they already like. I mean, there’s really nothing subtle about the song’s references. However, in Maddie and Tae’s EPK on Youtube, Mr. Borchetta claims that all the guys that he plays the song for “laugh at it,” so I’m not sure.
I don’t care for the song musically, but it says something that obviously needs to be said by someone other than country music bloggers. As for Maddie & Tae, I don’t know what their other songs sound like, but I wish them luck.
YES! I haven’t heard the song but agree with their perspective as told in this article. I get SO sick of turning the radio only to hear the same tired lyrics over and over about “girl you cut them jeans just right,” “gotta get me some of that,” “she got the blue jeans painted on tight,” “shaking that money maker like your college major was twisting and turning,” “that kinda thing makes a man go mm mmmm,” “you’re looking so good in what’s left of those blue jeans.” Enough already! Come up with something else.
Country California has a great analysis of this song’s impact!: