Apparently, there’s nothing wrong with a country music song about a jilted girlfriend keying her boyfriend’s car, carving her name into the leather seats of his pretty 4-wheel drive, taking a Louisville baseball bat to the car’s headlights, and slashing all four tires. That song was Carrie Underwood’s 2005 smash hit “Before He Cheats”. Nor was it a corrupting influence to gleefully sing along with the Dixie Chick’s smash hit “Goodbye Earl” about two longtime girlfriends coming up with a final solution to the violent estranged husband of one of the girls.
However, the latest song by the group “Little Big Town” crossed the line that a psychotic ex-girlfriend and homicidal vigilante gal pals didn’t: incite the righteous indignation of country music listeners. The song in question is called “Girl Crush”. It’s about a jealous ex-girlfriend who would assimilate her the physical qualities, perfumed scent, and other aspects of his current paramour in a bid to win her boyfriend back. Truth be told, the lyrics are quite poetic in how it tackles jealousy. That said, the lyrics invoke a quasi-lesbian attraction that listeners are finding uncomfortable.
It has been twelve years since a Country Music act caused this much controversy. Back in 2003, it was the Dixie Chicks, but that was due to their criticism of President George W. Bush during a time of war. Country music in the US has prided itself on patriotism and the all-girl band’s remarks were seen as un-American. However, Little Big Town is illustrating that a segment of Country Music listeners still lack tolerance of the LGBT community.
Little Big Town’s Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman faced the supposed issue head-on in an interview with country radio host Bobby Bones, who declared: “It shouldn’t even matter if it’s a lesbian song!”
“There’s so many problems with that whole issue,” Fairchild said. “The fact that country music is built on heartache songs and jealousy songs, this is like a modern day version of ‘Jolene,’ and people just need to listen to it.”
Regardless, Country Music stations in places like Idaho and Texas are yanking the song from their playlists. It is a sad commentary on a brand of music that has come a long way over the past forty years to enter the mainstream of popular music in North America.
Fellow country superstar Dierks Bentley weighed in, speaking with The Huffington Post. “When I heard that song, I never even thought about it being a girl crush or a lesbian [romance]. And when I thought about it that way, I liked it even more,” he said. “A little controversy is always good for music, so I think it worked out for the best. There’s always going to be great country artists and great country songs and I think “Girl Crush” is a really well-written, great idea for a song.”
Country songwriter Jaren Johnston, who has penned hits for Keith Urban and Tim McGraw, among others, took to Instagram with his thoughts.
Why stations are pulling Little Big Town’s ‘Girl Crush’ — and what that says about country radio