Tami Neilson’s country-rockabilly-soul hybrid soars higher than the powerhouse singer’s black bouffant hairdo in “Queenie, Queenie,” an a cappella track backed by an infectious stick beat and a set of empowering lyrics. The song appears on the Canada-born, New Zealand-based singer’s new album, Chickaboom, which arrives February 14th and includes the previous release, “Hey, Bus Driver.”
Taking its inspiration from the eight outstretched arms of a Hindu goddess, the “Queenie, Queenie” video depicts Nielson having to use all those arms in a variety of ways, conveying the message that a busy mom’s work is never done. “Workin’ through the day, workin’ through the night, planes and trains and another missed flight/ Mama gotta hustle, do another show, ʼcause they won’t play a lady-o on country radio,” sings the mother of two with a knowing wink.
Neilson’s directness with regard to issues of gender inequality and femininity was a key element of her previous album, Sassafrass, which included the song “Bananas,” a jab at the male-dominated music industry. Like “Queenie, Queenie,” the frisky musical backdrop contrasts the song’s pointed lyrics.
“You want to deliver something in a really fun, appealing, beautiful package that is initially, ‘Ooh, something sparkly and shiny,’ and it gets someone’s attention,” Neilson told Rolling Stone Country in 2018. “They can fall in love with that and then suddenly realize, ‘Wait a minute, did she just say equal pay? What’s this actually about? I thought it was a song about produce!’ ”