Maddie and Tae boldly blend sounds in debut album



Taylor Dye, left, and Madison Marlow of Maddie & Tae perform on the Mane Stage during the final day of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye first appeared on the country music scene in 2014 with “Girl in a Country Song,” a catchy tune that quickly hit number one. The single was praised by critics and casual listeners alike for boldly mocking the misogynistic clichés that are heard often in country music.

To add to the irony, “Girl in a Country Song” was the first single by a female artist to hit number one on the the radio charts in two years.

“We are girls with something to say. We were brought up to know how we should be treated,” Marlow said.

Their next radio single, “Fly,” showed a different side of Maddie and Tae’s sound. “Fly” is much slower and features twangy acoustic guitar with vocals that may remind listeners of Carrie Underwood’s earliest songs. The lyrics are inspirational and sincere, a stark contrast to “Girl in a Country Song”.

This conflicting theme continues in Maddie and Tae’s debut album, “Start Here,” released Aug. 28. The contrast between sweet Southern belle and edgy country girl is entertaining and fun; listeners will not be bored.

The album overall maintains a traditional country sound with twangy guitar and minimal percussion, as opposed to the pop-infused country that is gaining popularity. The two girls’ voices complement each other nicely and create a balanced sound.

“Tae and I understand harmonics so well and each other’s’ styles. People don’t realize how tricky it is, but when you pull it off, it’s the most fun kind of singing there is,” Marlow said.

The fresh lyrics, however, ended with their first single; the rest of the album seems a bit tired, reusing the same topics heard daily on country radio. The lack of new content outside “Girl in a Country Song” was disappointing.

“Start Here” is an excellent album for country lovers who want a diverse playlist, but anyone hoping for a different brand of country, like they heard with “Girl in a Country Song”, may be disappointed. 

For other opinions on “Start Here”, visit Rolling StoneBillboard, or NPR.