While the Highwomen are a group borne of female empowerment, it’s also a bit of an experiment: to see if country radio will play a bona fide country music song by a group of women singer-songwriters. So far, the answer is no. Only a handful of stations have added the band’s debut single “Redesigning Women” into rotation since it was shipped to radio on October 14th.
Sadly, that’s not just country radio’s loss, but their listeners’ as well, because “Redesigning Women” is a prime example of contemporary country music done right. Written by Natalie Hemby and Rodney Clawson (Florida Georgia Line’s “Round Here”), the track features all four of the Highwomen — Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, and Hemby — trading verses and joining together to harmonize throughout. When their voices blend together in certain moments, it’s like the skies parting on a cloudy day.
Opening with a snaking guitar lick, the track shuffles along on a country-music bed of acoustic strums and electric slides. But it’s the artists’ winking vocal delivery and the way they strip away the veneer to reveal real life that sells the song. “When we love someone we take them to heaven/and if the shoe fits we’re gonna buy 11,” they sing in a lyric that pokes fun at such stereotypes as a woman’s love of shopping. Personal appearance is fair game too: “Skipping the bread for the butter/changing our minds like we change our hair color.” In the hands of the Highwomen, such zingers land just right.
“Redesigning Women” may celebrate all that goes into existing as a working and/or family-raising woman, but in the end it just sounds so damn irresistible. And that’s something every woman, man, and non-conforming person should be able to embrace.
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