Brandy Clark, ‘Girl Next Door’ [Listen]
Brandy Clark’s strong songwriting turns her new single “Girl Next Door” into a roller coaster ride you need to buckle in for. A dark clickety-clack beat drives her country ultimatum. Like Miranda Lambert, Clark does threats well.
Jessie Jo Dillon and Shane McAnally helped Clark write the first single from her second album, her first on Warner Music Nashville. “Girl Next Door” is her major label debut and the first real push for an artist who has been fueling a female resurgence for several years. Clark and McAnally co-wrote “Stripes” and added Dillon for “Crazy Women,” two loose canon songs from 12 Stories. This song falls in line.
But Clark doesn’t fall in line with the established Nashville sound, and that’s why fans love her. Sonically, “Girl Next Door” stands out. The beat is a little more polished than the raw tracks from her debut album, and the separation between arrangement and vocals is unique. Her wild hairs have been tamed for a four-minute track that finds a woman calling her man’s bluff. Yet one senses she’s just a coarse word away from spitting fire. “Crazy” is implied, not illustrated.
It’s wonderful theater. “Girl Next Door” paints vivid images of the three primary characters, and while it’s a wordy single it’s not due to lack of efficiency. Analyze the trio’s lyrics and marvel at how they write a novel in just two verses and a chorus.
Listen to Brandy Clark, “Girl Next Door”
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Brandy Clark, “Girl Next Door” Lyrics:
“When you took me home / You knew who you were takin’ / Not some Debbie Debutante, standing in an apron / Frying up your bacon / My house and my mouth and my mind get kind of trashy / I’ve never been to jail but hell I wouldn’t put it past me.”
“If you want the girl next door / Some Virgin Mary metaphor / Your cardboard cutout on the wall, your paper or your Barbie doll / Perfect hair and perfect dress / I’m really just the perfect mess / And I ain’t nothing less or nothing more / So baby if you want the girl next door / Go next door and go right now / And don’t look back, don’t turn around / And don’t call me when you get board / Yeah if you want the girl next door then go next door.”
“Sorry I ain’t sorry / That I ain’t your Marsha Brady / If I ever met her I bet she’d probably hate me / Cause you’d wanna date me / My heart and my head and my bed can get real twisted / And you wouldn’t be the first to think you’re gonna go and fix it.”
“The thing that turns you on is what you’ll wanna change / But you have a better chance of slowing down a train.”