"Try" (CD single)

Music review by
Fiona Maloney-M..., Common Sense Media
"Try" (CD single) Music Poster Image
Positive messages about beauty ideals shine in OK pop song.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Listeners will learn that trying to fit into unrealistic beauty standards isn't as important as being yourself -- specifically, a genuine version of yourself that you can be proud of and that you like instead of one manipulated by social norms. The music video visually reiterates the message in a powerful way, showing women of all body types and a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds taking off their makeup and proving just how great they look when they stand with confidence in their natural state. Caillat follows suit, showing she's not afraid to let the world see her without the makeup, hair extensions, and fake eyelashes that she removes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Caillat proves herself to be a positive force for confidence and self-worth, speaking directly to listeners in the song's final phrase with the reassurance that she likes them just the way they are. In the music video, Caillat stands out as one of the rare celebrities willing to show what they "really" look like. She does look quite different from the beginning of the video to the end, which may be surprising, but viewers can benefit from seeing how she stands with confidence in her own natural beauty. The other women and girls in the video offer a positive example as well, showing how any listener can follow Caillat's lead. Though they could represent a greater diversity of ethnicities, the breadth of ages and body types speaks to the fact that there isn't one way to be beautiful. 

Violence
Sex

Caillat echoes the sexual pressures that often accompany perceptions of beauty, saying, "Get your sexy on / Don't be shy, girl / Take it off." She immediately questions whether falling into this sexy-as-beautiful trap is worth it, adding, "This is what you want, to belong, so they like you / Do you like you?" 

Language
Consumerism

Caillat references the overly materialistic attitude that often feels like a necessary path to fitting in. "Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards / You don't have to choose, buy it all, so they like you," she says, once again challenging this behavior by posing the only question that really matters: "Do you like you?"

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that "Try" is a mellow pop ballad from singer Colbie Caillat off her 2014 EP Gypsy Heart. The song addresses the concept of natural beauty, encouraging listeners to leave social pressures behind and "just get up" in the morning without changing "a single thing," because the only opinion that truly matters when we look in the mirror is our own. The accompanying music video shows Caillat, along with several other women and girls, removing their makeup and going all-natural to confidently display their own untouched beauty. The video's release generated significant online buzz, as individuals and news outlets lauded Caillat for bringing unrealistic beauty norms into the spotlight. The song refers briefly to the materialistic and sexual pressures inherent in our culture, and the way the lyrics are structured might leave younger listeners confused about Caillat's perspective if they are unable to differentiate when she is echoing the critical voice of society and when she is speaking her own positive and empowering views. Lines such as "Put your makeup on / Get your nails done / Curl your hair" could end up sounding like direct commands rather than a multilayered critique. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 17 years old Written byrebma97 July 23, 2014

Beautiful message

This is a really lovely song. Aside from the soft, delicate music playing in the background, I love the messages about true beauty. And it's really not tha... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 11, 2014

Thumbs up!

This is an appropriate track, and it has nothing bad in the lyrics. It is very good and I recommend it!

What's the story?

TRY confronts the pressures that many women and girls face when it comes to feeling beautiful, and Caillat identifies a variety of issues that tie into the general theme of fitting into a standardized definition of beauty. She references the "need" to be skinny with the lines, "Run that extra mile / Keep it slim so they like you," and speaks to sex appeal and consumerism as ways to achieve desired appearances. Though she spends a fair amount of time echoing the negative voices that impose these pressures, the song reaches a turning point and stresses its most important message with the lines, "Wait a second / Why should you care what they think of you? / When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?" Here, Caillat drives home the essence of what she attempts to impart with this song -- yes, "Take your makeup off / Let your hair down," but don't forget that ultimate beauty, however you choose to define it, stems from within.

Is it any good?

On "Try," Caillat exhibits the soft and rather soothing quality of her voice, creating a low-key pop song that, similar to so many of her others, falls easily on the ears. The track follows a standard pop song structure with its repeating verse and chorus, and listeners may find that the refrain of "You don't have to try, try, try" gets a little old by the end of the tune. There's nothing musically groundbreaking here, but the song's strength is undoubtedly in its powerful message. For those who have experienced the pressure of trying to fit into a singular definition of beauty, both the track and the video will offer a refreshing outlook on self-worth and can inspire young listeners to stand tall and look in the mirror with confidence. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about societal pressures around beauty. How are they different for men and women? How do you think a society's idea of what is beautiful gets constructed? Do you think there is a universal definition of beauty, or does it differ across cultures? 

  • Families also can discuss what they think of the raw beauty movement. Do you see it taking hold? If not, what would have to happen for people to truly appreciate natural beauty -- are there specific things holding society back? 

  • Why do you think sexiness and beauty are so often linked? Can you point to a more positive definition of beauty that you like better?

Music details

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