Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Martina McBride – Teenage Daughters

Catching Chuck on a Good Day, episode one of two…


Chuck Eddy: Top ten things I like a lot about this record, more in order of occurrence than preference: (1) I was the father of a teenage daughter for a while (she’s post-teen now) and will be one again in just over one decade, so I totally know where Martina’s coming from. (2) The structure opens up as very early ’70s AM radio pop — might even remind me a specific K-Tel classic or two, though I haven’t figured out which yet. (3) She needs a drink. Twice. (4) It’s in the tradition of runs-in-the-family songs by the Roches and Supremes and ladies like that. (5) More in the tradition of “This One’s For The Girls” (generational contrast) than “In My Daughter’s Eyes” (mush). (6) Doo-dah-doo-doo doo-dah-doo-doo what’re we gonna do. (7) Hard-hitting drum sound, starting a minute in, getting increasingly propulsive as it goes. (8) Being cool mainly means fooling people into thinking you are, and breaking rules is something worth nostalgia for. (9) “Carrrrr” pronounced not the Southern but the Midwestern way, Martina being from Kansas. (10) Guitars that build with the drums — yet another perfectly jangling Tom Petty pop-rock record, in country disguise — climaxing in hard rock solo, at 2:45.

Michaelangelo Matos: As down-the-middle classic as it gets, top to bottom: for some reason I keep thinking of 1998, not for country, but for AAA by female singer-songwriters right after Lilith Fair: Lucinda’s Car Wheels, Liz Phair’s Whitechocolatespaceegg, Sheryl Crow probably. This is funnier than all of them, even Liz, and therefore a lot more felt. “Real,” even.

Erick Bieritz: Just listen to how Martina brusquely pushes her way through those potentially tuneful do-do-doos in the bridge. Parenting may reasonably sound like a chore, but writing a pop song shouldn’t.

Martin Skidmore: She’s a technically very strong singer, but the music is cliched country/soft rock, and I don’t get much emotion from her voice. This song is full of assertions of frankness and honesty, but it’s so bland and vague that it’s utterly empty, and the ‘doo doo doo’ stuff is stiffly lazy.

Anthony Easton: Why does this remind me of Jeannie C Riley?

Jonathan Bogart: Is Martina angling for the country-singer-turned-sitcom-mom spot now that Reba’s vacated it? Cause it sounds like she’s got her pilot halfway written.

Pete Baran: It’s “Slipping Through My Fingers”, ten years later. Martina is cocksure of her demographic, and probably right, and yet there is still something disheartening about even a country song bemoaning how tough it is to parent teenage girls. And the film doesn’t even plumb the pure terror of gangs of teenage girls on the bus. A safe, midset stadium plodder which for some reason I find really, really sad.

Zach Lyon: Some nice lyrics in the beginning and the conceit is potentially interesting, but any potential is squandered by the boring guitar drudge that dominates it and the fact that it doesn’t go anywhere.

Alfred Soto: I’m a sucker for songs about daughters turning into mothers, and while I’m grateful this isn’t as wetly rueful as usual, there’s something off about the arrangement: the guitars too insistent, the drums pounding McBride’s flat vocal into that poor daughter’s head. Reba and Lee Ann get on fine without wishing they were addressing Miranda Lambert.

Josh Love: Not only does this song encapsulate everything that’s great about popular country music, it actually works as a perfect metaphor for pop-country. It’s a genre that, at its best, refuses to shy away from subjects that are quotidian or thoroughly unhip, yet it often insists on musically kicking ass while talking about them. “Teenage Daughters” not only tackles an unhip subject, Martina actually makes it largely about being unhip. It’s no different than Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” except this isn’t about getting together with your fellow graybeards and pretending the last 20 or so years didn’t happen. It’s about having to confront your obsolescence every day under your own damn roof in the person of someone you love more than anything else in the world. Being a parent of a teenager means you’re going to be completely, thoroughly uncool most of the time, and that’s not easy to accept, which is why Martina wisely does this song as an I-ain’t-dead-yet rocker rather than a treacly ballad. Notice how she sings, “she rolls her eyes when I’m funny.” Not, “she rolls her eyes when I’m trying to be funny.” Martina knows she’s still got it, goddamnit.

Josh Langhoff: Though Ms. McBride is totally capable of rocking out, I tend to picture her as the mature Den-Mother of mainstream country singers and Grammy Diva Assemblages. Even on her singles that’d lend themselves to frayed desperation, like “Independence Day” or “How Far”, she hits her high notes with perfectly clear long tones and wide open vowels. She never sounds stiff, just proper. She kind of reminds me of MY Mom. Which is why it’s so funny to hear her twanging and scratching up lines like “I think I need a drink” and “Oh my God, she’s got a car” — this must be what Mom sounds like when everybody’s gone to bed and the Warren Brothers sneak over and the kitchen smells like smoke the next morning.

4 Responses to “Martina McBride – Teenage Daughters”

  1. I wish I could love this.

  2. I wish I could love this as much as Chuck Eddy loves this.

  3. I almost gave it a [9] and kind of wish I had.

  4. You know Amy Rigby’s “Don’t Ever Change” kicks the shit out of this song, even if only one of the three verses is directly on the topic at hand. And yes, I’ve got a girl who rolls her eyes too (as a pre-teen).