Keith Urban’s ‘Female’ Is a Long-Overdue Response to American Sexism [Listen]
Keith Urban's new song "Female" finds the singer harmonizing with every woman who anxiously typed #MeToo on social media recently, and the millions who couldn't bring themselves to do it.
Without being political, controversial or heavy-handed, country music's most dynamic male vocalist makes a strong statement at the time it's needed most. Save the cowardly, angry tweets, or the tone deaf "thoughts and prayers" comments so many of Nashville's biggest stars lean into when taking on controversy or real life tragedy. This is how country music's best respond best, with long-lasting, important ballads from the heart.
The 50-year-old father of two little girls explores institutional sexism and rape culture with remarkable sensitivity, but leaves behind no fibers from kid gloves. "Female" is a bold song, poetically crafted by three master songwriters (Nicolle Galyon, Ross Copperman and Shane McAnally). Urban's wife Nicole Kidman was rumored to join Urban on the background of "Female," the song he'll likely sing during the 2017 CMA Awards on Nov. 8. Officially it's Nicolle Galyon's voice on it, per a note at her Instagram page.
But that's practically a footnote to this long overdue response from one of country music's most influential males.
A "Female" Song Writer Shares More Details:
Right now in country music, women do not have a voice. Just four songs on the Billboard Airplay Top 40 are from female soloists, and there's little reason to hope for a dramatic turnaround. Carly Pearce can't say what Urban says. Kelsea Ballerini can't make this statement, either. One wonders if even Miranda Lambert could deliver such a politely scathing review of society without devastating criticism. Urban's recognition of that — and choosing to tie the success of a new album to combating sexism — is a courageous decision that needs to be recognized in big ways.
His past two albums pushed the boundaries of country music further than Sam Hunt or Florida Georgia Line, and he seems poised to push once again, albeit with bold messages instead of production. Urban is uniquely capable of leaning away from the mainstream without breaking from what's appealing. He's MAYA (most advanced, yet acceptable) defined.
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Keith Urban's "Female" Lyrics:
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?
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
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.
She's the heart of life / She's the dreamer's dream / She's the hands of time / She's the queen of kings.