By Brian Ives
“The girl next door” is an American archetype. As the Urban Dictionary explains, she’s shy, unassuming and nice: “Think of Renee Zellweger’s character in Jerry Maguire.”
Singer/songwriter Brandy Clark has written about this archetype in her new song, “Girl Next Door,” based on the experience of one of her co-writers.
“I wrote that with Jessie Jo Dillon and Shane McAnally, and that idea came from Jessie Jo. 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!'”
At the time, Clark wasn’t working on that particular song with Shane McAnally — they were collaborating on a different project, their stage show, Moonshine — That Hee Haw Musical — but she called him in 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. 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 Girl Next Door” is the first single from Clark’s upcoming album, Big Day in a Small Town, which will be out April 1.