Country Music Enterprise Currents

Keith Urban’s “Female” support comes up empty

It was a noble attempt. It’s a soothing melody. I’m just not in agreement that Keith Urban’s “standalone single” “Female”, scheduled to debut live at the 2017 CMA’s, is saying a thing.

Taste of Country suggests “Female” finds Urban “harmonizing with every woman who anxiously typed #MeToo on social media recently, and the millions who couldn’t bring themselves to do it.” And that “country music’s most dynamic male vocalist makes a strong statement at the time it’s needed most.”

Perhaps he is – harmonizing. Although, neither females nor sexism needs harmonizing. Yet that being said, it seems harmonizing is all “Female” is doing. For unless I’m stone deaf, I don’t hear any message whatsoever, never mind a “strong statement at the time it’s needed most”, in Urban’s lyric, vocal, melody or production. In fact, the song’s sexist-sounding female gasps are enough to leave one aghast.

Lyrically speaking – or is it?

“Female” lyrically opens up with a series of questions posed and continued in verse which are merely reiterating recent headlines of sexism.

The chorus follows with an apparent poetic litany of synonyms of what women are? Have experienced? The jury’s still out on what all of it means. There’s no “hook”, save the rhythm of the melody, and absolutely no message.

The bridge feels like a metaphorical attempt that comes up empty in content. And a male listener shared with me that the song’s bridge “sounded like lust talk”.

And while Rolling Stone reports that Urban claims the ethereal background vocals “are a blend of a couple people. Just a sense of female,” my listener’s response to the song’s background vocals was, “That’s concerning.”

Assuming “Female” carried its message with lyrical strength and grace, which it doesn’t, support of such a powerhouse problem may have been better suited in a mid-tempo sporting vocal strength and attitude. But given that the song doesn’t really “make a strong statement at the time it’s needed most”, a sleepy ballad certainly is on cue to put this sleepy song to rest.

“Female” Lyric

The Verses

(First verse)
When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl / How does that hit you / Is that such a bad thing / When you hear a song that they play sayin’ you run the world / Do you believe it / Will you live to see it?

(Second verse)
When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it / Just cause she was wearing a skirt / Oh is that how that works / When somebody talks about how it was Adam first / Does that make you second best / Or did He save the best for last.

The Chorus

Sister, shoulder, daughter, lover / Healer, broken halo, Mother / Nature, fire, suit of armor, sole survivor, holy water / Secret keeper, fortune teller / Virgin Mary, Scarlet letter / Technicolor, river wild / Baby, girl, woman, child / Female

The Bridge

She’s the heart of life / She’s the dreamer’s dream / She’s the hands of time / She’s the queen of kings.

About Christine McDonald (31 Articles)
Christine McDonald is a Boston-based copy, content and column writer, crafting copy for the arts, entertainment, holistic health and spiritual markets. Christine's been "Writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil and a thought™", hooked on country since conception and studied songwriting with the Boston chapter of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International). When Christine's not writing she enjoys family, friends, food, pets, photography, reading and the ocean.

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