Next Girl

Album: yet to be titled (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Carly Pearce penned "Next Girl" at a time when she was adjusting to a new season in her life. Stuck at home on her own after filing for divorce from Michael Ray, she was also without her longtime collaborator Busbee, who'd died from brain cancer in 2019. Unsure how to follow up her hit duet with Lee Brice, "I Hope You're Happy Now," Pearce turned to her record collection. As she listened to music by female country singers of the '80s and '90s, the songstress realized she needed to make real country music – the sort of lyrics centered around a powerful female perspective that Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Patty Loveless delivered.

    The song she came up with was "Next Girl," a hushed warning to a younger woman being swept off her feet by a ladies' man.
  • He knows how to say all the right things
    Knows how to get you outta that dress
    Knows how to make you think you're the best thing
    But I know what happens next, girl


    Pearce delivers her lines conversationally with concern, having been through the same experience herself. "You know we've all been both of these girls," she told American Songwriter. "You're young, you think it's magic. You're grown and you know better."

    "How many times have you gone to a club and watched this happen? It's so predictable, just look around," Pearce added. "But for all the looking, how many times have you ever said anything?"

    "So, this is my way of being the big sister, or the sassy girlfriend to all the other girls out there in the dating jungle," she concluded. "Maybe if we all looked out for each other, we'd end up with a little less heartbreak and a lot more laughter."
  • Thinking about which co-writers would understand her desire to return to traditional material, Pearce turned to Shane McAnally, with whom she'd collaborated with on "Love Has No Heart" and "Woman Down," and his frequent writing partner, Josh Osborne.

    "Shane and Josh as big country fans, they remember those sassy, sexy songs," she recalled. "And when we got in the studio, Shane really leaned into the track. To see them digging into a real country song was so much fun, because they knew how to really get aggressive with the track, where to pull the instruments out, how to support me singing the lyric, where to drop everything out and let my voice do the work."
  • Josh Osborne also supplied background vocals. The musicians are:

    Rob McNelley electric guitar
    Ilya Toshinsky acoustic guitar
    Craig Young bass guitar
    Josh Matheny dobro
    Dave Cohen synthesizer
    Fred Eltringham drums and percussion.

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