1. Say You Will

‘Say You Will’ is a country-inspired song which articulates the frustration and impotence that comes from witnessing a friend going through this emotional abuse, and is directed at the perpetrator. The song makes direct references to lack of accountability in a domestic abuse relationship dynamic and calls out the perpetrator on his behaviours, showing that his gaslighting and manipulation is being seen through, if not by his victim, then at least by the narrator.

I also sought to explore the value of friendship and solidarity in the face of domestic abuse, and I am certainly not the first song-writer to do this. Amongst others, I was inspired by songs such as the Dixie Chicks’ ‘Goodbye Earl’, which tells the story of a woman who kills her abusive husband with the help of her friend. The lyrics sparked controversy due to accusations that they promoted vigilante justice and glorified murder, but the Dixie Chicks encouraged listeners to focus on the issue of domestic abuse that the song highlighted instead.

The song was also inspired by Nadine Hubbs, an academic who makes reference to the homosociality and queer-coded elements in many country songs, such as Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Hubbs (2014, p.74) points out that ‘country listeners are accustomed to intimacy between same-sex friends’ and lines in ‘Say You Will’ such as ‘all the light comes from her’ are intended to reflect such affection.

Further Resources

Hubbs, N. (2014) Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music. University of California Press: Berkeley.

The Dixie Chicks and at their music video shoot for 'Goodbye Earl'

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