Song Review: Parmalee, “Girl In Mine”

Don’t look now, but it’s time for our yearly dose of Parmalee pop-country. Just like last time, you won’t taste a thing.

Parmalee is the poster child for why people stick it out in Nashville for so long. The group is no better than they’ve ever been, and their material has been nothing but mediocre for the last decade…but then in 2021, Nashville suddenly decided they were done with Dan + Shay and wanted someone else to fill the genre’s quota of lightweight, flavorless pop-country, and Parmalee got the call. Then again, for as big a hit as “Take My Name” would up being, it’s a sample size of one (two if you include their Blanco Brown collab “Just The Way”), and the group could very quickly find themselves on the business end of the business if they’re not careful. Now would be the time for Parmalee to make a strong move and solidify their place at the top of the Boyfriend country heap…but instead we’re getting “Girl In Mine,” a generic, uninspired love song that fails to distinguish itself from its recent Boyfriend brethren. There’s never been a reason to tune in to Parmalee’s tunes, and this track doesn’t change that.

The production here sounds exactly as you’d expect it to sound: The slick guitars playing basic riffs, Grady Smith’s favorite snap track, the deliberate beat, the neutral-to-dark tones that don’t feel all that happy or romantic…I know I just complained about whether all this soundalike nonsense was me or Nashville, but on a generic Boyfriend track like this, I refuse to take all the blame. The producer deserves a little credit for making a dobro the primary melody carrier (the dobro isn’t as ever-present as the steel guitar, but it seems like we’re hearing more and more of it these days), but when electrified and buried under extra effects, it loses most of its distinct sound, and doesn’t add a whole lot more to the song than the guitars do. Like most love songs these days, the mix doesn’t have the feel I’m looking for—it seems like it’s going for a sensual feel, but not only does it miss the mark by a mile, it’s not the feel the lyrics seem to be going for (the “in my t-shirt” line seems to be the only true sex implication here). A song like this should feel like love, and this sound doesn’t move the needle in that department.

With dealing with a group like Parmalee, the best that you can hope for it for them to show some growth over time, especially when they’re moving to a new album cycle. Unfortunately, we see exactly zero evidence of this here, and much of what I said about “Take My Name” still applies:

  • “Lead singer Matt Thomas avoids any technical issues on the track, but there’s nothing compelling about him as a vocalist (or distinct either; if you told me that, say, Matt Stell was singing this song, I would believe you).”
  • “I’m sure the narrator cares a whole bunch about their significant other, but Thomas fails to allow the audience to share in those feelings, and thus he can’t convince them to give two you-know-whats about their love story…”
  • “The rest of the band is as invisible and replaceable as ever: There’s nothing distinct about their sound or their harmonies, so why does Stoney Creek bother keeping them on the payroll?”

All of is still true: Thomas is still as indistinguishable as ever, the narrator’s got something bubbling up inside him but can’t seem to get the audience to care, and with sounds and backing vocals this generic, I feel like Thomas needs to ditch the rest of these stiffs and strike out on his own, because the band contributes nothing of value to the song. I don’t like to repeat myself, but I also don’t like wasting my time on songs that aren’t worth the effort.

The lyrics here are yet another cookie-cutter-yet-incomplete effort, presented a half-painted effort in basic colors that the listener has to finish themselves. The narrator is infatuated with their partner, and they want them in everything they have (“in my t-shirt, in my ride, running circles in my mind,” and eventually in their world) so that they’re “the only girl in mine” (a weak hook if I’ve ever heard one). It’s just the same old stuff we get from every song in this lane (they get a few points for the screen lock reference, but it’s a throwaway line that barely registers), and we don’t get any sense of what makes this romance special or unique. It’s one of those tracks that tries to be intentionally vague (and you can’t get any vaguer than “In my Friday every weekend/All my days, my nights”) and relies on the listener to connect it back to their own romance for it to be even remotely effective. It’s one of those lazy soundalike songs that’s been done (and done better) a thousand times before, and there’s nothing in the lyrics that helps justify its existence.

“Girl In Mine” is a uninteresting song on a topic that’s been done to death over the last couple of years, and kind of feels like “Take My Name, Part 2” in Parmalee’s discography. I get that “Take My Name,” was big and you want to keep the hits coming, but you’ve got to give folks a reason to tune into the new track, and with uninteresting production, unimaginative writing, and an undistinguished performance from Parmalee, there’s no reason to pay any attention to this thing. It’s a great example of why I really want to get off of the mainstream grind, because there’s no payoff to doing so—you’re stuck with people copying other people (including themselves!) when the originals weren’t that good to begin with, and everyone’s sticking to a confining meta that demands surface-level listening only. It’s boring beyond belief, and everyone involved needs to do better.

Please tell me we don’t have to do this again next year…

Rating: 4/10. Skip it.