“Boy & a Girl Thing”
While it can be tempting to give a free pass to an artist who sounds identifiably country, the fact is a good country song does not live on steel guitar alone.
“Boy & a Girl Thing” tracks the development of a romantic relationship from youth on. Boy and girl fall in love, get married and have babies, have a few fights, fall back in love and grow old together. There’s a certainly a world of potentially great country song concepts within that framework – just ask Tanya Tucker or Alan Jackson. The problem is that the characters in this song are about as realistic and believable as the male/female silhouette icons which appear on the single’s cover.
The narrative progresses from “He’s gross, she’s got cooties” to “makin’ plans to say I do” until finally the two nameless, faceless protagonists are in their eighties and it’s (spoiler alert) “still gonna be a boy and a girl thing…a girl and a boy thing.” Nothing about their story feels genuine, authentic, or specific to its characters, such as might move listeners to connect the story with their own personal experiences. While the arrangement is restrained, unobtrusive, and does not make me want to put my head through a wall, it likewise plods along without any particular depth or richness. There’s no substantial reward for the listener who sits through all three minutes.
While Pitney has obvious talent and a palpable regard for country music tradition, fulfilling his potential will require material that’s good – as in clever, interesting, intelligent or compelling. This is tolerable at best.