Friday, February 13th, 2015

Little Big Town – Girl Crush

An entry in the country tradition of girl-might-love-girl.

Anthony Easton: Lori McKenna wrote this; she has also written for Faith Hill. This song might be about women who like to have sex with women. There are not a lot of country songs about women who like to have sex with women. That is a little interesting. This song might also be about a woman who wants to have sex with another woman’s husband. There are a lot of country songs about women who want to have sex with another woman’s husband. This song has not made that clear. I like country songs that are not very clear. Also, the production is like other songs that are about not very clear choices. The queer reading is the novel reading, but noting the history grounds this work strongly in a tradition. The song works so well because the longing rests not only in the ambiguity of object choice (the man or the woman or both) but in the slippages of novelty and tradition.

Katherine St Asaph: On the Kinsey scale, this is about a Four Tops. Like every one of these songs, I like “Girl Crush” more or less depending on how much of a joke I think it is on any given listen, but credit to Little Big Town for keeping the sound small and sullen.

David Sheffieck: The vocal performance and the production are the best kind of union between throwback and modern, but this would be a whole lot more palatable if there was any – any – ambiguity to be found between the title, which promises one thing, and the lyric, which winks frantically while backing as far away as possible from that promise. This is essentially “no homo” stretched to three minutes, a risible attempt at a joke that gets worse the more time I spend with it.

Iain Mew: “Girl Crush” draws out its pain slowly and exquisitely, revelling in it, turning it over and over and poking at it in the hope that it will turn into something better. Of course, it’s a puzzle that they never solve, but it’s a well-realised version of a recognisable urge, and that success stacks up against the less well realised aspects of the lyrical concept.

Alfred Soto: Thanks to the arpeggios, the first verse is brazen and lived-in, worthy of Rosanne Cash’s great same-sex valentine “The Way We Mend a Broken Heart,” which makes the bait and switch of the second verse after the chorus way too clever by half. I don’t believe the scenario. I don’t believe the narrator could make the leap and limn an erotic same-sex scenario that’s supposed to be transgressive. I believe the narrator could imagine herself into her rival’s shoes. Points, though, for concentration and brevity.

Micha Cavaseno: The little drippy “Oh-sha-la-la-la” guitar intro is a perfect touch. The whole of the song sounds like something out of the Shirelles or The Teenagers, or The Beatles when they’re biting that sort of sound. But you could NEVER make a perfect slab of retro-pop while alluding to something so foreign to those perfect gems of teen innocence that avoided the world beyond the boy meets girl. So its the guitar, the effects on those drums, the mincing of the organ that does it perfectly. It shows that the sentiment is the same, but its evolved, modern, and all those corny adjectives to show that things change and remain the same. Ever so clever.

Scott Mildenhall: The second line being “hate to admit it but” is an immediate red flag, but while its implications of sincere shame go unexplored, the twisted twist on unrequited love overrides any fears. There is a lot left to the imagination; how the narrator perceives the crush is unknowable, and the arrangement allies that intrigue with faint threat as well as the requisite hymnal sorrow.

Edward Okulicz: Women singing to the other woman is more common in country than other genres, and as much as it’s tempting to praise “Girl Crush” for taking it in a new direction, in 2015 it’s barely more adventurous than Katy Perry’s variety-hour lipstick lesbian tourism. But it’s not cheap or exploitative just for not going as far as it theoretically could, and the desire feels as real as it’s confused. That it still sounds like the sort of doomed love song an uberproducer might have given a hungry girl group to sing about a man means that it has its own pleasures and subversions.

Brad Shoup: A sterling example of pop transgression that, upon examination, shrinks right back over the borderline. In its nagging simplicity and wellworn vocal, Karen Fairchild and company echo the Mac, but none of its songwriting principals would have ever let their thirst show so unpridefully. Little Big Town does their forebears right on the rest of the record. But here, they feint toward baring it all before pulling on the brushes.

Reader average: [8.6] (10 votes)

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8 Responses to “Little Big Town – Girl Crush”

  1. Some of these reviews are incredibly ridiculous because they are being based on what they WANT the song to be about rather than what it is about. It’s clear who is arriving at their words from an artistry standpoint (as they should) and who is blatantly reacting to the song from their own personal agenda. We need more reviewers, not agitators.

    Sorry it was not “homo” enough for some of you, but who the hell cares! It’s a great piece of work!

  2. I’m sorry reading comprehension is too much for you, but who the hell cares!

  3. it was definitely not “homo” enough for me sir, i appreciate your apology

  4. yeah i always want everything to be as homo as possible so

  5. the homosocial often flirts with the homosexual, and assuming a singular category refuses the liquid polymorphity that marks sexuality.

  6. also the author is dead

  7. My favorite reading of this is that the “long blonde hair” overlap with “Little Red Wagon” is meant to signal that the song is about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. Because haven’t we all been there?