It took a “Girl in a Country Song” to get a girl back to the top of the country radio airplay charts — two girls, to be exact. After a dismal two-year drought, Maddie & Tae’s retort to the genre’s misogynist clichés (“I hate the way this bikini top chafes!) is the first single by a female to hit the Number One radio slot since Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away.” (Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic” went Number One this year, but on the Billboard country charts.) It’s been a rough ride for the ladies overall of late — while superstars like Faith Hill and Shania Twain dominated in the Nineties, the dawn of beer-swiggin’, truck-driving baseball-capped bros has made the charts a pretty unfriendly place for women.
“I think we could definitely get some more ladies out there,” Tae Dye tells Rolling Stone Country. “You have Carrie [Underwood] and Miranda [Lambert], but I’d love to seem some more women out there.” But even Underwood and Lambert couldn’t pull a number one with their collaboration, “Somethin’ Bad.”
And while male duos like Florida Georgia Line have had no problems reigning radio, it’s been since 2006 that a female twosome has done so — with The Wreckers’ “Leave the Pieces,” capitalizing on Michelle Branch’s sizable draw. Maddie & Tae’s label, DOT Records (a Big Machine imprint) is certainly celebrating — not only is this a huge stride for the genre and gender, it’s their first Number One in 40 years.
The 19 year olds released their self-titled EP in November, but a full-length debut isn’t far behind. Working on songs now, they’re hopeful to have the album on shelves come spring.
“We’re always trying to write songs, and we already have over two hundred,” says Maddie Marlow. “The theme of the record will be honesty, honestly. With everything that Tae and I do, we want to make sure it’s true and honest to who we are as people and artists.”
For now, the wistful ballad “Fly” will be the next single — a sweeter, less controversial approach than “Girl in a Country Song.” But can we expect the new album to contain some similarly provocative material? Is everything fair game to country’s new radio queens?
“We haven’t picked the songs yet,” says Dye, smiling, “but I am sure there will be!”