Photo courtesy of the artists.
By Trevor Christian
It’s no secret that party-crazed males are in control of the country music charts right now. Luckily for anyone listening closely, fiercely intelligent women with a traditional background are also on the rise. Maddie & Tae, still in their teens, are among the best representatives of the latter group despite relying on a decidedly modern sound to deliver their lyrics.
The singing duo rose to prominence earlier in the year with a single stunningly critical of the lyrics their colleagues use called “Girl in a Country Song.” Their self-titled EP only builds anticipation for a full album thanks to two upbeat tunes with lyrics outlandish enough to match the lead track.
Outlandish, here, is used in the best way possible. The best track on the release, ‘Sierra,’ is about a woman who wears a heart of gold around her neck but lacks one herself. The pair set up rhymes with ‘quick’ and ‘switch’ and warn the titular character that karma’s a ‘hmm.’ It’s easy to imagine the two grinning while they hum in place of a curse. Kacey Musgraves might have just come out and said the word, but Maddie & Tae seem content with the amount of controversy they’re sure to cause with the line about Sierra’s fat behind.
Laughs, gorgeous harmonies and a little mischief seem like a trend in Maddie & Tae songs. “Girl in a Country Song,” which contains the disclaimer “no country music was harmed in the making of this song,” and “Sierra” are both more fun than mean-spirited, even if an edge clearly exists.
The girls don’t show any sign of that edge on the inspirational “Fly,” vocally or lyrically. There’s nothing offensive about the tune, but there’s nothing particularly strong about it either. Stronger tracks exist from the pair on YouTube and probably should have been considered instead.
“Your Side of Town,” a break up song in which an ex is told not to frequent the same part of town, is another example of the duo at their best. The energy is high and the beat thoroughly modern, but with fiddle and banjo flourishes sure to please a traditionalist. “You better just pretend/there’s a barbed wire fence/and a barricade,” the two sing before launching into an almost taunting chant of the song’s title. It’s proof the duo can sound amazing without having to make a statement, though hopefully they have a few more of those to make by the time their full-length album rolls around.