Chris Janson can’t help the timing of “Drunk Girl,” but its benevolent message is timeless and needed.
The newest single from his sophomore album Everybody arrives at the advent of a national reckoning of sexual misconduct among men in politics, entertainment and sports. In the months following the #MeToo movement, the country has seen many including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor lose their jobs over allegations of sexual misbehavior in the workplace. Taylor Swift was among the “The Silence Breakers,” a collective of individuals chosen as Time magazine’s person of the year for speaking out against sexual assault and harassment.
Bystanders watching these events unfold are left questioning what they can do to rid the world of such behavior for future generations. A part of the solution is it takes good people who know the difference between right and wrong to express their beliefs.
That’s where “Drunk Girl” comes in.
“‘Drunk Girl’ is just all about doing the right thing,” Janson tells CMT.com. “Sometimes people forget. The bottom line is humans have to take care of humans no matter who you are or where you’re at. Good information is good information whether it be for a guy or a girl. It doesn’t matter the sex of the human. If you do the right thing, the right thing will always happen.”
While Janson doesn’t have control over the timing of national events (the song was written with Scooter Carusoe and Tom Douglas long before misconduct by powerful men dominated today’s headlines), the timing of the story within the song is everything.
The lyrics tell of a man who encounters an inebriated woman while on a night out. The woman is clearly gone beyond all recognition in public with her hair a mess and her clothes coming undone. By the end of the night, the man does what any decent human would do — he makes sure she gets home safe and sound. He takes her home, leaves her keys on her counter and his number by the phone.
Janson says the song was written from a parent’s perspective. He hopes that if his children found themselves in a similar situation, others would take care of them in the same way.
“Ten years from now, I think the song will still have that timeless quality about it,” Janson said. “Now songs hit different people in different ways. If anybody thinks, ‘Hey, this is the perfect song for the times that we’re in as far as the world or the status of America,’ then I take great pride in that. And I take it as a great compliment because if a song can help somebody in any way, that’s why we do this.”
Since its release, “Drunk Girl” has become one of Janson’s most popular songs to date. It was the No. 1 most-added song by a male in its debut week at country radio, and since it has become a regular in his set list, fans have shared with him varying testimonies of how the song has impacted their lives.
“A lot of people have responded to the song in overwhelming kinds of ways, and it’s relating to a lot of people — men and women alike — no matter what walk of life they come from,” Janson says. “And we weren’t really setting out to do that on purpose it just kind of happened that way.
“It doesn’t surprise me though. When you write a song with the guys that wrote ‘The House That Built Me’ and ‘Anything But Mine,’ it’s hard to get something bad out of that. It just so happens that we got something extraordinary. I really love the song, and I’m glad other people do as well.”
Janson believes that everyone has a personal responsibility to take care of others. If he sees anyone doing harm to others at his concerts, he will do anything to stop it.
“I’m not a big drinker, so I don’t miss a whole lot at all,” Janson says. “I’m probably one of the only artists you’ll ever come across who is extremely cognizant of everything that’s going on in the room all the time. If I ever see anyone in the audience being inappropriate be it a man or a woman, I don’t stand for that.
“I don’t like to take away from the artistry and the music because that’s No. 1. But the bottom line is, you have to take care of lives and all lives matter no matter what world we’re in. I’ve stopped shows a lot of times for EpiPens, heart attacks and things that happen. But you’ve got to be as cognizant as you can, and you hope that the crew around you has the same awareness.”