Janson's career has been one of hit-or-miss single releases. The likes of "Buy Me a Boat" and "Fix a Drink" fall towards the 'bro' end of the spectrum, while a song like "Holdin' Her" proved him capable of truly excellent country music. As horrific as "Fix a Drink" was, it's fair to say it may have been necessary to have "Drunk Girl" released to the public, and it certainly falls into the latter category of excellence.
The song depicts a story of a man finding a woman at a bar, and rather than take advantage of the situation, he treats her with respect and dignity, taking her home rather than making sexual advances. Painted with background details and solid imagery, it's an exceptional display of mature, and important lyricism. Perhaps most importantly, the narrator isn't treated as a hero, but rather has his acts displayed in the realm of normalcy. With a proclamation of "that's how you know the difference between a boy and a man", taking the woman home is seen as a simple act of respect that should be exercised by all, rather than a rare display of morality. It's a topic that has yet to be tackled by the mainstream in country music, making Janson's effort even more bold and respectable. Backed by a sparse, piano-centric arrangement, the record is restrained from reaching power-ballad territory. Meanwhile, Janson's performance is technically-proficient, and earnest in nature. It shines melodically, and is built for repeat listens.
What Janson has done with "Drunk Girl" is craft a career-moment. Whether it's embraced commercially or not, he has created a record of integrity, and one of importance. It's a piece of music that is among the best we've hear in years, and is a major victory for not just the mainstream sector, but for the genre as a whole.
Listen: "Drunk Girl"
Author: Markus Meyer