“She’s in Love With the Boy”
Written by Jon Ims
#1 (2 weeks)
August 3 – August 10, 1991
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
July 26, 1991
Another week, another superstar arrives.
The Road to No. 1
Trisha Yearwood was raised in Monticello, Georgia, and was obsessed with music from an early age. Her family supported her dreams, but insisted that she complete her education, which led her to earning a Music Business degree at Nashville’s Belmont University.
From there, she found work as a receptionist on Music Row, and she used her networking skills to begin singing demonstration tapes for her songwriting friends and colleagues. Soon, she was incredibly in demand for her session work, as she earned a reputation for being able to nail a demo recording quickly and flawlessly. Sometimes, she’d even leave her car double parked in front of the studio, knowing she’d be right back out.
She connected with her eventual producer, Garth Fundis, and was initially managed by the team in charge of Garth Brooks, an old friend of Yearwood’s who was poised for megastardom. A record label showcase intended to earn her a deal at RCA Nashville instead landed her at MCA, with Tony Brown offering to sign her on the strength of her performance. While her debut album was being completed, Brooks offered her the opening slot on his 1991 tour. In May of that year, MCA sent her debut single to country radio, and it became the first debut single from a female artist to top the country chart since Connie Smith’s “Once a Day” three decades earlier.
The No. 1
“She’s in Love With the Boy” captures the small town innocence that Yearwood came from, and made her country music’s “girl next door” right out of the gate.
It’s easy to look back at it as a happy anomaly in her career, given that she’d soon have the reputation of being a serious artist in the vein of Emmylou Harris. “She’s in Love With the Boy” seems quaint held up to the standard of not just her later work, but even the rest of her debut album.
But the elements of a great Trisha Yearwood record are all there. There’s the nuanced and intelligent performance, understanding her role as the storyteller and keeping her vocal power completely in the service of the song. There’s the tasteful production, sounding at once timeless and current, something that is consistent through virtually all of her work with Garth Fundis at the console.
Most importantly, there’s the point of view, with Yearwood demonstrating that she is a smart and independent woman. When Taylor Swift went up to her room during “Love Story” two decades later while her boyfriend and father decided her future for her, it seemed like we’d gone backward in time. Women have all the agency in this story, and the attempt of Katie’s father to “have a talk” with Tommy is quickly interrupted by Katie’s mother, who stands in solidarity with her daughter while giving her husband a much-needed reality check: “My daddy said you wasn’t worth a lick. When it came to brains, you got the short end of the stick. But he was wrong, and honey, you are too.”
It’s a tale as heartwarming as “Walkaway Joe” is harrowing, but the moral of both stories is the same: Listen to women, especially your mother. They usually know best.
It’s easy to take this one for granted, given that Yearwood’s going to record “Wrong Side of Memphis” and “The Song Remembers When” in the next two years. That “She’s in Love With the Boy” isn’t even one of the ten best Trisha Yearwood singles isn’t a reflection on the quality of the song, but on the quality of the artist.
The Road From No. 1
As her self-titled debut album set sales records, becoming the first debut by a female country artist to go platinum, Yearwood scored two more top ten hits right after “She’s in Love With the Boy”: “Like We Never Had a Broken Heart,” which had a powerful harmony vocal from Garth Brooks, and “That’s What I Like About You.” We’ll see Yearwood again in 1992, when the fourth and final single from Trisha Yearwood tops the Radio & Records chart.
“She’s in Love With the Boy” gets an A.