Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Hailee Steinfeld – Most Girls

Most girls want a man with the true grit…


Crystal Leww: Hailee Steinfeld is one of the most hardworking up-and-coming young pop stars, finding time to do movies and a lot of guest appearances on dance tracks. In her own music, she’s found an identity of empowered uplift, especially for girls. “Most Girls” puts forth the argument that being complimented for being different from other girls is not a compliment at all, because girls are not a monolith of personality. She never slutshames or judges for prudeness, nor condescends to girls who may feel a little insecure. At times, the lyrics are clunky, a little too on the nose. But Steinfeld’s been selling this message since Pitch Perfect 2, so it feels like an organic evolution from “Love Myself” rather than a temporary, manufactured FeMiNiSm bit.

Rachel Bowles: Hailee Steinfeld is a gift that this world doesn’t deserve, but millions of teenage girls do. Destroying internalised misogyny and sexist douchebros, “Most Girls” picks apart the backhanded compliment of “you’re not like most girls,” in which young women are pitted against one another for male approval. The electro dance-pop hook doesn’t quite live up to the joys of “Starving,” but its message puts it firmly in the realms of her other feminist anthems like “Love Myself.”

Alfred Soto: Love the message, loathe the pop-song-in-’10s autopilot arrangement.

David Sheffieck: The lyric is somehow exactly as clever as it thinks it is, and Steinfeld does her characteristically solid work on the vocal. If only the production was an equal surprise: it’s hopelessly MOR with the exception of a bridge that suggests Ryan Tedder should have been given more to do.

Lauren Gilbert: I’m a sucker for a good female empowerment anthem, but this isn’t it. She’s pushing back at the idea of “I’m not like most girls; I’m [not dramatic/into sports/whatever we’re defining is not “feminine” this week]”, but without the video, it kinda feels like she’s saying “most girls are awesome! But, you know, there’s this one girl….” Its feminism is a bit pasted-on; is all you have to say about the diversity of women’s lived experience what they wear and how they look? But it’s Tedder, and the “I wanna be like / I wanna be like most girls” hook is like a meringue — tasty enough, but without much substance.

Alex Clifton: Auuuuuugh. I love the concept — taking the insult of “you’re not like most girls” and turning it into a feminist self-empowerment anthem — but it’s difficult to write a good feminist self-empowerment anthem that doesn’t come across as generic or patronizing. The song still sets up false binaries: some girls like sweatpants! Some girls like kissing! Somehow, you’ve got to be either/or, not both/and. Bless her, she’s trying, but “Love Yourself” was much stronger and far more joyous.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I liked The Edge of Seventeen quite a bit, but one large reason it felt refreshing was because there’s a surprising lack of solid teen movies that are relatable and encouraging. There aren’t too many half-decent (clean) radio hits meant to empower young girls either, so I can’t be too mad at the existence of “Most Girls.” But man, does this song completely hinge on whether you can stomach its corny clickbait premise. “This guy said she wasn’t like most girls, you won’t believe what happens next!” Wow reacts only, please.

Katherine St Asaph: I’ll give her this: “it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in” is a damn sight better than the mushy It Gets Better-core of 2011. But this isn’t a song, it’s a blog post on Bustle.

Hannah Jocelyn: If only for “It’s okay if you want to change the body that you came in/cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen,” this is much better than most attempts at Purposeful Pop — as someone who’s spent college exploring their own gender and sexuality, it’s more than validating to see something genuinely inclusive here. The message is especially surprising considering the writing team, with songs like “Airplanes” and “Starving” between them, and also Ryan Tedder. Tedder isn’t usually great at handling this sort of thing (BOYS AND BOYS AND GIRLS AND GIRLS), but there’s nothing nearly as clunky here, and he adapts his octave-hopping Tedderisms to tropical house in an actually affecting way. The one problem is the obligatory chipmunk drop, not just because of its use, but for how it’s applied. The whole message of “Most Girls” is that there’s no wrong way to be a woman, so why use “staying out late cause they’re just celebrating” and not, like, “We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life”?

Stephen Eisermann: Not as clever as it wants to be, not as catchy as it needs to be.

Katie Gill: The “you’re not like other girls” maxim is still around and still absolutely goddamn obnoxious, and I greatly appreciate any attempt to destroy that turn of phrase. And the Hailee Steinfeld pseudo-feminist renaissance at least hints at complexity more than the pseudo-feminist ethics of other pop stars. That being said, this is a little too blunt. It’s a blog post written by someone who’s just gotten “woke” and realized that pitting women against women is absolutely awful. We know that Steinfeld has this nuance — I’m just a bit confused as to why she didn’t deploy it here.

Julian Axelrod: Sure, the latest Steinfeld joint has some nitpickable elements. It boils down “most girls” to a sinner-saint dichotomy straight out of a Drake song, and any female empowerment anthem co-written by four dudes is inherently suspicious. But Steinfeld brings an affable, human air to the trop-house template, and her personality shines even when they pitch-shift her voice six ways to Sunday. And as long as women endure awful shit on a daily basis, I won’t object to female pop stars preaching power and self-acceptance. I’ve been rooting for Hailee Steinfeld: Pop Star since “Love Myself,” and this doesn’t dissuade me. She made The Edge of Seventeen, she’s never going to hell.

Reader average: [5] (2 votes)

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2 Responses to “Hailee Steinfeld – Most Girls”

  1. both Joshuas crushed this! “Wow reacts only” made me guffaw

  2. the “But there’s this one girl…” is otm, also