Jesse Lee – “It’s A Girl Thing”
Songwriters: Victoria Banks, Jesse Lee and Rachel Proctor
Country’s latest crop of vague proclamations—It’s America! She’s country! It happens!—just got its latest addition, thanks to newcomer Jesse Lee.
It’s a girl thing!
Although it’s understandable for artists to gravitate toward authoritative, all-encompassing statements like these, it’s disappointing the talented Lee kicks off her career with a string of clichés about weddings, make-up and roses, all tied into a simplistic knot about womanhood.
Unsurprisingly, only certain types of “girl things” make it into the song, perhaps because it’s trickier to fashion rhyming schemes around “glass ceiling” and “income disparity” than “diamond rings” and “cute shoes.” Despite promising opening bars that sound like Lee may have learned a thing or two from opening for the likes of Clay Walker, “It’s a Girl Thing” quickly delves into a chorus full of gems like “We love romance, and candlelight/You like a cold beer, we like a fine wine.”
Lee’s more than capable voice is the only thing that keeps it from falling apart into a giant clichéd mess; unfortunately, those mature vocals create an even starker contrast with the song’s lyrics. Still, the singer effectively twangs “thang” and “strangs,” and the song’s production borrows enough cues from 90s-era pop county to sound downright traditional compared to today’s radio offerings.
However, odd choices like a posse of echoing backup singers and canned party noises towards the song’s end ring fake, and the song’s “we vs. you” mentality (“We want a four course meal/You want Hooters wings”) comes off as uncomfortably groupthink. This collective “we’s” overgeneralization could be fixed by replacing “we” with “I,” and turning the song into a more personal contrast between a girly girl and her manly man.
Stereotypical without being satirical, “It’s a Girl Thing” misses the humor and bite of Kellie Pickler’s “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind,” which, although far from a masterpiece itself, grasps the concept of self-deprecation when it comes to the comic differences between men and women.
As a twenty-something beautiful blonde with leanings toward contemporary country, Lee clearly has to find what makes her unique in today’s market. For that reason, it’s too bad that a young country singer who streaks her hair with neon colors to stand apart from the crowd would rely on such conventional stereotypes for her first single.
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