Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Collin Raye, “My Kind of Girl”

“My Kind of Girl”

Collin Raye

Written by Debi Cochran, John Jarrard, and Monty Powell

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

February 18, 1995

Collin Raye goes on a remarkably unconvincing Journey.

The Road to No. 1

After “Little Rock” went No. 1, Raye went top ten with “Man of My Word.”  The fourth single from extremes became his fourth No. 1 single.

 The No. 1

Raye would eventually drop all pretenses and cover “Open Arms” for his late nineties hits package, but the first indication that he fancied himself to be the second coming of Steve Perry surfaced on this remarkably unconvincing attempt at arena rock.

It’s not a very good song to start with.  “My Kind of Girl” is a G-rated list of fantasies that opens with, “I saw you buying Cosmo and a Hot Rod magazine,” and only gets more ridiculous from there.  Every detail is in service to the rhyme scheme, so we’re left with a bewildering collection of character traits and comeback lines that do not plausibly co-exist in a random stranger being hit on at the magazine rack.

Raye is no stranger to implausible story lines, but his storytelling gifts are left behind in favor of a “Look guys, I’m not just a balladeer, I can rock!” performance that tries way too hard to be edgy and ends up annoyingly grating.   He doesn’t sing so much as he screams.

There have been some big duds along the way in this feature.  This is the first one that’s actually painful to listen to.

If you want a headache to go with your earache, check out the ghastly music video below.

The Road From No. 1

“If I Were You,” the final single from extremes, went top five, and then Raye previewed his fourth studio album with another No. 1 hit.  We’ll cover it later in 1995.

“My Kind of Girl” gets an F. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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16 Comments

  1. Not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting an F rating for “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)”.

    Oh wait, wrong song. But they’d may as well be the same song – 12 bar blues, shoehorned rhyme scheme, even the videos are of a similar style.

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    • I was taken aback by how negative my reaction was to it when listening to it again. I thought it was fine back in the day.

      I doubt we’ll get another A to F swing from an artist like we got from “Little Rock” to “My Kind of Girl.”

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  2. I always thought this worked as fantasy song. Everything that the narrator sings about is intentionally and inherently implausible; it’s country porn.

    As cool as country music was in the 90’s, I always felt self-conscious purchasing country music magazine “No Depression” at a literary, hip university book store like Macalester College’s “The Hungry Mind,” even if it was an alt-country publication. Ditto for grabbing “Country Weekly” in the checkout line at the grocery store or “New Country” at the Hamline University bookstore. Embedded in my anxiety was the fact I had never seen an edition of “Country Music for Dummies” in bookstores because the assumption was dummies listened to country music.

    So, to have this absurd hook-up happen at a magazine rack works for me. As a listener I am like, “No way! That’s awesome!” It’s hot because it will obviously never happen, a “wouldn’t it be cool if” scenario.

    I think this is song is freakishly funny. Raye’s obnoxious vocals are the only appropriate way to deliver the lyrics. Sing it sedately and you risk the story and the characters being confused for real people.

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  3. Maybe it’s nostalgia but I’ve always found this song to be pretty good. I’d give it a C. I don’t tend to like these kind of songs but this one works for me.

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  4. I never really cared too much for this one, either, but wow, definitely wasn’t expecting an F! It’s one of my least favorites from Collin, though, and I agree with you about the uptempo cuts on Extremes not aging very well. That’s actually the reason why it’s my least favorite of his 90’s albums, despite there also being some great ballads on it (They certainly picked an accurate title for the record, didn’t they?). If there’s one good thing I can say about this song, it is that the girl he’s singing about at least seems to have a more interesting personality than the girls in most bro-country songs combined, even though it’s likely more fantasy than reality.

    I actually remember the video to this coming on when my mom had GAC on her TV while I was in her room, and her kind of having a frightened, “what is this/is this country music?” look on her face. Songs like this are actually probably one of the reasons she had mostly lost interest in modern country by this time and was listening to oldies more. While it’s not a favorite of mine, either, as I already mentioned, I still like it more than some of the other stinkers from the past year like “Down on The Farm,” “Watermelon Crawl,” and “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” (Thanks, Stephen, for reminding us of that song’s existence. :d jk ;) )

    I also love both “Man Of My Word” and “If I Were You” and wish both of them went to number one instead of this one.

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  5. Even as a teenager in the 90s, it struck me that Raye always seemed weirdly resentful of his reputation as a balladeer, which resulted in grotesque over-compensations like this single and the just utterly ridiculous video for “I Want You Bad (And That Ain’t Good).” Rather than leaning into what his strengths were, he pushed back way, way too hard against them. Had “toxic masculinity” been a common phrase in that era, it would have been a good way to capture the tryhard underpinnings on a song like this: It’s pretty clear in hindsight that he just didn’t want to appear “soft” in comparison to the other men of the era.

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      • Sliding nuts-first into the camera and flinging flop-sweat all over the crowd because someone in tenth grade made fun of his singing voice for being too pretty.

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        • I think the success of “Little Rock” redirected him when planning his fourth album. Unless my memory fails me, we didn’t have another “look at me, I’m a wild guy” performance from him. He went all in on topical material moving forward.

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          • Yeah, thankfully I don’t think we ever heard another obnoxious tune like this from Collin until around 2000 or 2001 when he released “She’s All That,” and that one flopped.

            Jonathan’s observation about Collin not wanting to be known as a “softy” does tie in well with you mentioning in the “Little Rock” entry that he was unsatisfied with his first two albums, though. I did always wonder why he made such a drastic change in style from those two records to Extremes (on the uptempo numbers at least), besides the label possibly pressuring him to keep up with the radio trends, of course.

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  6. I’m a big Collin Raye fan and I think that “My Kind of Girl” is awful. I don’t understand how it ever made #1.

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  7. First, Kevin calls this a a G-rated fantasy, then I say it is more like an X-rated fantasy. Jonathan mentions “toxic masculinity,” “nuts-first slides,” and Raye being a “try-hard” in pushing a less soft image. All in, I am laughing at how all the adjectives used to describe this song read like a hot-spot in a tawdry romance novel.

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