Girl Next Door

Album: Big Day in a Small Town (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • Brandy Clark wrote this song with Jessie Jo Dillon (George Strait's "The Breath You Take") and frequent collaborator Shane McAnally. She first debuted the empowering and irreverent tune at a show in early November 2015.
  • The song first came together around the time that Clark's debut album, 12 Stories, was released in October 2013. It was inspired by a story Dillon told Clark about a relationship. "It's just a hook that's been sitting there waiting to be written forever," McAnally told Billboard magazine. "We write songs every day - it's so rare that a hook like that happens, where you're like, 'holy s--t, how has this not been said?'"

    "Little Big Town had it on hold for a while," he added. "But it wasn't long before 12 Stories started to make an impact, and Brandy was like, 'I think that song could really be the next chapter.'"
  • A girl next door is a young woman who is perceived as approachable, kind, unassuming and dependable, typically in the context of a romantic partnership. During World War II, American propaganda often invoked her as the symbol of all things American, who was waiting for her brave soldier boy to return home safely.
  • Brandy Clark told Radio.com the story of the song: "That idea came from Jessie Jo," she said. "Jessie Jo is the epitome of cool; she's a little bit of a wild child, and she was dating this guy who loved that about her when he first met her, and then as time wore on, he wanted her to be a little bit more demure."

    "And I said, 'Well, what do you think of that?' She's like, 'I wanna say, "Brother, you want the girl next door, go next door!'" And I said, 'Jessie, that's a song!'"

    Clark called in Shane McAnally to work on the track as well. "So the three of us sat down and wrote it. I remember we wrote a whole song that day and then felt like it could be better and got back together and tweaked it a little bit," she said. "Once the song was finished, it was just magic. We went in to demo it, I remember Shane and I were demoing it one morning, and the first take with the band was the take. So it was one of those things that just, once it was created there was no stopping it."
  • The song's music video features a marionette housewife wanting to escape her Stepford wife domesticity. The clip is a collaboration between Brandy Clark and directors Tracie Gouldie and Shane Tarleton. "I loved working with [Gouldie and Tarleton] on the video for "Girl Next Door,"" Clark said. "This song is about someone wanting you for one thing and then wishing you were completely different. Their vision was exactly what the song needed."
  • Brandy Clark references here the oldest Brady Bunch daughter. Marcia Brady was portrayed in the classic TV series as a beautiful, mature, and popular girl.

    Sorry I ain't sorry
    That I ain't your Marcia Brady, uh-uh
    If I ever met her, bet she'd probably hate me
    Cause you'd wanna date me


    Clark recalled to ABC Radio: "One of the coolest things that ever happened was Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, tweeted at me, 'Hey Brandy Clark, I ain't no Marcia Brady either.' I mean, that was pretty cool, and [she] came to a show in L.A. and we met."
  • Clark wrote in a Genius attribution: "For me, this song isn't so much about a guy and a girl relationship, it's more about societal pressure. We're all pretty imperfect, so I think that all of us at some point feel that pressure. For a guy, their guy next door would maybe be Tim Tebow. Or Ken doll."

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