Even a mediocre gameplan can work if it’s executed well.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Trisha Yearwood: While she was a bonafide hitmaker throughout the 1990s, her last official single was released back in 2015, and outside of some side projects the year afterwards, she’s been laying low while her husband Garth Brooks has tried to jump-start his career (to mixed results, at least on the charts). This year, however, Yearwood has reemerged with a new single “Every Girl In This Town,” which headlines “Yearwood’s first exclusively country album in a decade.” Yes, at its core it’s a trend-hopping track with a lot of competition on the radio right now (“Miss Me More,” “GIRL,” “Buy My Own Drinks,” “Somebody’s Daughter,” etc.), but it least the song executes its formula well and leaves the listener slightly uplifted, even if the feeling is temporary.
Despite the paint-by-numbers feel of the production (start with a typical guitar-and-drum foundation, use some methodical strumming to generate some energy, add a spacious feel to the electric axes to check the “power anthem” box, sprinkle a few keyboards on top to increase the seriousness quotient, bring in a background choir to hammer home the hook at the end, and voilà!), the producer did a solid job stayin within the lines, and a result is an uplifting, empowering atmosphere that generates a lot of energy and momentum and does it best to complement the lyrics. While I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve heard this single a hundred times before and that it lacks that key piece to distinguish it from its peers, there’s something about the way the song swells on the chorus that sweeps up the audience and allows them to share in its hope and optimism. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it’s good for what it is.
I like Yearwood’s performance in general, but I have a small problem with her delivery here. She’s certainly got the range to handle the song’s demands (the way she maintains her tone on the lower-ranged verses is particularly impressive), but her decision to rush through the lines on the verses instead of sticking with the tempo of the song makes her vocals choppy and awkward, and less natural-feeling than they should. (In fact, she bring to mind how Willie Nelson famously and frustratingly ignores the song’s tempo from time to time.) She’s much better on the choruses, where she’s able to join with the production to deliver a convincing performance that reflects on the past without getting bogged down in nostalgia and losing its positive feel. Despite nearly thirty years in the business, Yearwood’s voice sounds just good as it did back in her heyday (in fact, with the recording improvements made over the last few decades, her voice actually sounds stronger than it did on “She’s In Love With The Boy”). It’s a solid showcase overall that suggests that Yearwood is capable of the same sort of comeback her husband keeps attempting.
I would label the lyrics as the weakest part of the song, as they don’t feel as focused and coherent as they should. The narrator opens with some boilerplate scenes (local fairs, porch-light breakups) to try to establish some sort of personal connection with the audience: Hey, we’re all the same inside; we’ve all had big dreams. The second verse, however, pivots to a more-general worldview: “Every girl is somebody’s daughter,” (as if Townes’s single didn’t hammer us over the head with this point), don’t let the haters get you down (the drowning/baptizing metaphor honestly feels more cheesy than clever), etc. It doesn’t quite capture the personal connection of the first verse, and it weakens the track by making it sound like just another lightweight feel-good song. (The hook isn’t great either, as the “in this town” piece is extraneous and is never connected to the rest of the song.) It’s not a terrible piece of writing and it certainly leaves enough opening for Yearwood and her producer to elevate the track, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
For better or worse, “Every Girl In This Town” is the kind of song that leaves you wanting more: More focus from the writing, more diversity in the production, and more of Trisha Yearwood in general (seriously, this song is basically over by the 2:30 mark). It’s not something I’m going to actively seek out (or even remember in another month), but it’s a welcome addition to the airwaves nonetheless, and the message feels genuine even if it’s a bit generic. With all the 90s nostalgia in the air these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear a lot more from Yearwood in the months to come.
Rating: 6/10. Give it a listen and see how it moves you.