As yet another great example of how the girls of country are getting the whole “Anti Bro-Country” thing completely wrong, singer Meghan Linsey formerly of the Big Machine-signed and now defunct singing duo Steel Magnolia, has submitted her own Anti Bro offering up for the public’s listening pleasure, or displeasure as the case may be.
Written with Corey Crowder and James Otto, “Try Harder Than That” joins the already-crowded field of songs trying to juxtapose the gender perspective of Bro-Country, while still unfortunately imbibing in the same stereotyping and listing off of country artifacts that makes Bro-Country so awful in the first place. It’s like everyone got the same anti Bro-Country idea in Nashville at the same time, rushed their songs through production to piggy back off of the backlash, and now we’re hearing the half-baked results in rapid succession. It’s like a high school dance where all the girls accidentally wore the same dress.
“It’s an anthem for women, I feel like,” Meghan tells Chuck Dauphin of Billboard Magazine. “I know that people are likening it to the anti-bro-country songs, and I guess there may be a hint of that. However, it’s more about empowering women, and telling guys they need to step it up. That’s the message I was trying to get across.”
Instead it feels like Linsey is stepping down to the Bro’s level with shallow and predictable lyricism. It’s not necessarily Meghan’s fault that so many other women decided to put out similar songs at the same time, but what makes “Try Harder Than That” one measure worse than the competition is bringing on hick hopper Bubba Sparxxx to offer his slurred, lazy, and virtually-incoherent lyrical slop on the song as Meghan Linsey’s foil. Meghan doesn’t do much better with her offerings, especially at the beginning of the song with the incessant “boy” this and “boy” that indicative of hip-pop from five years ago laid over an instrument bed that stays curiously away from drum machines or EDM, but nestles quite nicely into pop rock sensibilities.
“Try Harder Than That” does not symbolize the worst of what country music has to offer in 2014, but it certainly does not do justice to the sensational talent inherent in country music’s women, including Meghan Lindsey. She has a good voice. It’s just a shame she had to use it in this unsavory, ill-fitting context. It is Meghan Linsey who should have tried harder, because unlike the “Bros,” she knows better.
1 3/4 of 2 Guns Down.