“Right Back Atcha Babe” is a song by Tim Mcgraw from the album Emotional Traffic . It has a fantastic beat, wonderful vocals, and a beautiful sentiment in the chorus.
“Right back atcha babe/ Just like a boomerang, everything good you threw my way/ Right back atcha babe/ Best that you get ready/ There’s a whole lot of loving that’s gonna be coming/ Right back atcha babe”
I heard the song on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Vegas, and I replayed it fifty times. So I got to wondering…why was it not a hit song? To answer the question, I reflected on the number one rule of songwriting:
The lyrics to a hit song will always make a woman feel good about herself.
As Harlan Howard (author of “Tiger by the Tail”) used to say, “Women buy 90% of music and they make men buy the other 10%.” Very true. So I put the lyrics of “Right Back Atcha Babe” under inspection. Do they make a woman feel good about herself?”
That night in Phoenix when you stole my jeep
Then you brought it home with a new stereo, baby, that was sweet…Oh and how can I forget the day you gave me my red guitar?
We’re off to a bad start. Women want to receive gifts…not give them. So the song has already failed. It’s ignoring the structure of courtship, where men are the pursuer and women are the pursued. The writer probably thought he was being a good-little-feminist. But gender equality only works in the protected hallways of academia: not in the real world.
First things first
I want you to close your eyes
This may not even come close to that first kiss you gave me
But I’m gonna try
Oh and here’s that ring you’ve been waitin for all these years
As for the tears, that you’ve cried
When we made love the first time
I highlighted the problematic part. Women don’t want to cry after sex…no matter how many romance novels we read. They want to feel exhilarated in the arms of an Alpha king. The only women that cry after sex are addicted to Cymbalta.
We don’t need to go any further with our analysis, the song has already failed. Again, remember the important rules: For a song to be a hit, the lyrics will always make a woman feel good about herself.
The customer is always right…and the customer for music is a woman.