By Erin Duvall
No song caused a greater stir in country music in 2015 than Little Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” from their Pain Killer album. Different parts of the country music audience responded in drastically different ways: there was immediate outrage from some who felt that this song was about homosexuality, a topic that can evoke strong emotions with that genre’s audience.
The other side, which prevailed in the end, saw the song as an honest account of jealously. The song details the aspects of the woman in the song — “I want drown myself in a bottle of her perfume, I want her long blonde hair” — as the narrator longs for the man her “crush” is with, not the woman she’s singing about.
Songwriters Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose and Lori McKenna, known collectively as the Love Junkies, dove into the area of jealousy that all women have experienced: wanting to be like someone who is liked, or loved, or lusted after.
The Love Junkies collectively have a bunch of number one singles to their credit. Liz Rose gained notoriety with her co-writes with a young Taylor Swift, Hillary Lindsey has a slew of Carrie Underwood hits and Lori McKenna’s songs were first introduced to the country world via Faith Hill.
Their “Girl Crush” immediately connected with women, most notably with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman. The Love Junkies wrote the song early one morning, before a scheduled co-write with the Little Big Town ladies. Upon hearing the song for the first time — and before any of the Love Junkie’s publishing people even heard it — the girls put the song on hold.
The lyrics paired with a flawless solo vocal from Fairchild took the song to the top of the charts. “Girl Crush” made a last affect on the state of country music. A song that had been deemed “inappropriate” for the audience received one of the highest honors of the genre, a place at the top of the chart. Artistry, talent and tapping into a hidden emotion, connected with enough people to beat staggering odds.