“Southern Girl” by Tim McGraw
The fourth single from Tim McGraw’s Two Lanes of Freedom album is the breeziest of the bunch. Where the muscular “Highway Don’t Care” put some tiger in the tank, “Southern Girl” drops the top and cruises. On the surface, it plays like the now rote “I’ve been everywhere” litany of cities—Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Chicago all get shout-outs in the first 30 seconds—but at its core, the song is a celebration of below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line ladies. You know the type by now. The ones, as the lyrics spell out, whose kisses taste sweeter than honey from Tupelo; who are as crazy as New Orleans; and who are sunnier than Daytona Beach. It’d all feel a little trite and disposable if the track didn’t have a monster groove to prop it up.
But, behold, The Tim has gifted us with the ideal summer anthem, thanks in part to the songwriting talent of The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston, along with co-writers Rodney Clawson and Lee Thomas Miller.
As such, “Southern Girl” is utterly singable, from that honey/crazy/sunny chorus and its payoff line of ain’t nothing in the whole wide world like a Southern girl to the ring-around-the-rosey cadence of the AutoTuned interlude imploring the titular girl to rock my world / hazel eyes and golden curls / put on a country song / gonna dance all night long. Try as one might, you can’t shake the melody. Just like the memory of that Southern belle who broke your heart during a spring break trip to Daytona.