'Girl Power': Little Big Town tops hot country songs chart

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Little Big Town's ''Girl Crush'' Pulled From Country Radio Stations


Little Big Town notches its second No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 9), as "Girl Crush" rises 2-1 in its 21st week. The band previously reigned with "Pontoon," which sailed upstream to No. 1 for two weeks in September 2012. (The group has charted 23 titles, dating to its first in 2002.)

"Crush" gains by 15 percent in overall activity, led by its third week atop Country Digital Songs (110,000 downloads sold, up 13 percent, in the week ending April 26, according to Nielsen Music). It holds at No. 2 on Country Streaming Songs with 2.4 million U.S. streams, up 23 percent, good for top Streaming Gainer honors on Hot Country Songs. Little Big Town performed the song on the April 19 Academy of Country Music Awards, broadcast on CBS.

Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' Performance Most Shazamed Moment of 2015 ACMs

The track's lyrical theme has helped build its buzz, as several media outlets have mistakenly pegged the track as sung by a woman romantically interested in another woman (an almost unheard-of angle in mainstream country music). Instead, the song presents the viewpoint of a woman jealous of another woman's desirability. Its lyrics are directed to a man, who is involved with the other woman: "I want to taste her lips, yeah, 'cause they taste like you/ I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume."

Controversy Over Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' & Its 'Lesbian Theme' Is Mostly Fabricated

As previously reported, a narrative developed that radio was avoiding "Crush," with such headlines appearing as "Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' Rankles Puritanical Country Radio" (Los Angeles Times, March 27) and "Radio Stations Pull Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' Over Complaints of Song's 'Gay Agenda'" (Huffington Post, March 27).

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'Girl Power': Little Big Town tops hot country songs chart
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 13: (L-R) Musicians Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town perform onstage during the 2015 CMA Festival on June 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 13: (L-R) Musicians Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town perform onstage during the 2015 CMA Festival on June 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: (L-R) Recording artists Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, Faith Hill and Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town perform onstage during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 02: (L-R) Recording artists Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town pose backstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on May 2, 2015 in Austin, Texas. The 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival will be televised as an exclusive nationwide two-hour broadcast special on NBC, May 27 from 9-11 p.m. ET. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 19: (L-R) Recording artists Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet of music group Little Big Town attend the 50th Academy Of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town perform during the CMA 2014 Country Christmas on November 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31: Members of the band Little Big Town (L- R) Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet perform at halftime of the Capital One Orange Bowl between Mississippi State and Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town accept the award for Vocal Group of the Year during the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town attend the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town perform at the 2014 CMA Festival on June 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 04: (L-R) Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town attend the 2014 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 03: Little Big Town perform onstage at the 2014 CMT Music Awards Rehearsals Day 2 at Bridgestone Arena on June 3, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 07: (L-R) Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook of music group Little Big Town arrive at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 01: (L-R) Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town pose with their awards at the 46th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 1, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
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In reality, country radio has supported the song, which boasts a 20 percent gain to 17 million in audience, as it bullets at its No. 19 high in its 20th week on Country Airplay. (All but one of the chart's 146 reporters played "Crush" last week.)

Little Big Town Talks 'Girl Crush,' Upcoming Tour & More

"It was hard at first," Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman says of the song's perceived controversy. "It has given huge life to the song, but when it was happening, it was disheartening. We heard all these angles and negative news stories about the song. But, what was so incredible was that the people who heard it and believed in it rallied around it. Then, people started buying it like hotcakes. So it's good that more people have heard it.

"The song is just a solid one for the ages."

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