Song Review: Maddie and Tae – “Die From A Broken Heart”

The short version: “Die From A Broken Heart” is just one of those well-written, heartfelt songs that represents what country music is all about. 

  • Writers: Deric Ruttan, Jonathan Singleton, Taylor Elizabeth Dye, Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye
  • Rating: 8/10

The long version: I should have reviewed this around six months ago, but this also should have been a single six months ago.

Regardless, after capturing genuine interest from fans in terms of streaming and sales, Maddie and Tae’s team are finally releasing one of their best singles yet to mainstream country radio.

Again, though, this should have happened sooner. Maddie and Tae may have scored their biggest hit to date by poking fun at the bro-country movement in 2014, but they’ve proven to be one of current mainstream country’s most exciting acts through other singles and their debut album, Start Here, from 2015. They didn’t sound like anyone else at the time, and that was a great thing. Like others, I wish the news of this single’s release to radio coincided with a full-length album rather than an EP, but this could be the song to get the duo’s name back in the spotlight.

In a nutshell, “Die From A Broken Heart” is one of those timeless songs that speaks to what country music is all about – warm instrumentation, heartfelt lyrics, and a genuine performance behind it all. The biggest selling point of the song is the lyrical content, and it’s a fascinating point to discuss.

Perhaps the biggest failing of songs today that try to tell a story is that they do so through vague elements or through a list-style of writing. “Die From A Broken Heart” does this to an extent, but in an effective way for once. The questions the narrator asks to her mother actually help fill in every gap of the story we need. The details of what transpired from this ugly breakup are told through Maddie Marlow’s eyes, and it’s a genuine perspective coming from artists still learning what love is all about. After all, they lamented the downsides of growing up on the final track of their debut album – this is a perspective that feels real to them.

Marlow’s delivery also fits the song well. She mostly sounds defeated, but that’s the point. She’s trying to find that silver lining and is holding out hope that everything will be alright, but it’s definitely not right now. Admittedly, it’s fairly disappointing to hear so little of Tae Dye on this track aside from a few points in the bridge, but Marlow is an effective narrator on her own as well.

The production and instrumentation mostly do what they’re intended to do here, and that’s to stay out of the way and let the story do the heavy lifting. The lyrical perspective is already a refreshing change for mainstream country music, but so are the sonics of it – the latest in a much-needed trend of more organic-sounding songs. The song is mainly anchored by rich, warm-sounding acoustics, pedal steel and even mandolin for some extra flavor. It’s almost as if organic textures help to make better, more mature songs. Who would have thought?

Overall, while Maddie and Tae have faced a rough path since the release of their debut album in terms of chart success, “Die From A Broken Heart” will hopefully be what reintroduces them to the country crowd. “Friends Don’t” felt more like the duo was clinging for dear life with a poorly-executed song, but “Die From A Broken Heart” finds them back doing what they do best – delivering well-written singles from a heartfelt perspective. Regardless of where it lands on the charts, “Die From A Broken Heart” is already a hit, and it’s good to see the duo back on the right track.

(Light 8/10)

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