Little Big Town is stirring up quite a bit of controversy over their latest jealousy-ridden single, “Girl Crush,” which is causing some radio stations across the country to pull it from rotation.
With lyrics like: “I want to taste her lips, yeah cause they taste like you / I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume / I want her long blond hair, I want her magic touch / Yeah cause maybe then, you’d want me just as much / I got a girl crush,” the song is causing a backlash among listeners at radio who think the song is a “lesbian song.”
“Girl Crush” lead vocalist Karen Fairchild told The Washington Post at how surprised she and the band are about the controversy. “It’s a genius lyric, such a beautifully written song about jealousy. It was like, ‘Why would we not cut this?'”
Fairchild says although the label had reservations about releasing the song to radio, “They all agreed it was a moment on the record that everybody needed to hear. Sure, there was a little bit of dialogue about the title and ‘Would people listen to the lyrics?’ But it didn’t stop us.
“That’s just shocking to me, the close-mindedness of that, when that’s just not what the song was about,” Fairchild continues, “But what if it were? It’s just a greater issue of listening to a song for what it is.”
Fans across the country have written to and called radio programmers out about the song “promoting the gay agenda” with threats to boycott stations. Many programmers and on air personalities have spoken out in defense of the track.
Bobby Bones of The Bobby Bones Show, the nation’s top country radio show, can be credited as the first DJ to play “Girl Crush” on the radio when he debuted it on his show in October 2014. That week, the song sold 10,000 copies on the iTunes and was officially released at the second single from their #1 album, Painkiller, in December 2014.
“Country radio is behind the times because they’re afraid to play a song that mentions a girl kissing a girl,” Bones comments about the Washington Post article in a taped statement. “Listen, I’m glad everybody’s jumping on the bandwagon. I appreciate it. The original O.G. of ‘Girl Crush’ — me, and I want all of you guys to support it, that’s all.”
Lia Knight, host of the nationally syndicated Radio Lia show, writes on Facebook, “There’s a bit of a backlash over the [n]ew Little Big Town song Girl Crush. Some folks are unnerved by the lyrics. However if you listen to the song you understand the song is about jealousy.”
Despite the radio backlash, the song continues to be a popular download among iTunes users. For the week of March 25th, the song has sold more than 25,000 copies and lands at the top of iTunes Country Digital Charts, selling more than 270,000 copies total in the United States.
The label is hoping to clear up confusion with a short commercial explaining the song’s meaning. The band introduces the track with Fairchild saying, “It’s about a girl saying, you know, ‘Why do you love her and not me?'”
This controversy proves that radio still has a big influence on the public despite more people turning to streaming and digital downloads. The Washington Post reports, “If angry fans force program directors to play the song less, it creates a ripple effect across country radio. Some stations won’t even play a song if it’s not near the top of the charts, and ‘Girl Crush’ is struggling to get there” as it hangs around the #30 spot.
They continue to point out the divide between country radio and digital sales, “Even if a song’s sales are strong, there’s nothing like radio to attract an even broader audience. People in the industry hope there’s a way to reconcile the two, especially to diversify the kind of hard-partying tunes that have taken over country radio in recent years.”
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.