Murder ballad is the absolute best country trope, and I will die on that hill easily.
And I have to say my favorite murder ballad is probably “Goodbye Earl.” I love how upbeat it is, almost like it’s celebrating the death of Earl (who absolutely deserves his ending).
I also love how creative the story and death is. I mean, tell me you still look at black-eyed peas the same way.
You probably don’t.
Though the best part of this song is the friendship between the two women and the bond they share.
I have been searching for a similar song basically since I first heard “Goodbye Earl” at a way too young age.
And I had yet to be totally satisfied.
The closest I’d found was maybe “Gunpowder & Lead” by Miranda Lambert. But it was angrier than The Chicks’ song, and it didn’t have that same sisterhood of one woman helping another.
Then, I heard “Josefina” by Bri Bagwell, a track from her new album, Corazon y Cabeza, and I just fell in love… the same feelings as I did when I first heard about Mary Anne and Wanda.
This song is about Josefina who is a barmaid in an abusive relationship.
Enter, the singer.
She sings directly to Josefina, telling her to slip something into her husband’s drink, and the singer will help her escape town.
While it isn’t clear that the husband is killed at first, the singer makes it very clear that she has no problem with smuggling drugs and people for free.
The singer then hatches a plan to get Josefina from Texas to Mexico.
So, no murder, just some fun crime stuff.
Well, then the best lyrics in the whole song reveal just how strong that something is that’s slipped into the husband’s drink:
“Many a man has found death in a vice
So serve your revenge over ice . . .”
While there have been many female murder ballads since “Goodbye Earl” has come out, this song just has the same (and best) vibes.
We love when women band together to take down scumbag men.