From the recording The Cougar Anthem
The Cougar Anthem was recorded at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, Texas.
Executive Producer: Kevin "Big Kev" Ploghoft
Producer: John Evans
Engineer: Steve Christensen
Glenna Bell: Vocals and Guitar
John Evans: Percussion
Steve Christensen: Percussion
Umar "The Hair Guy": Backing Vocals
Acts I and II of Perfectly Legal: Songs of Sex, Love and Murder consist of three songs each, but Acts III and IV feature only one song each: The Southern Gothic Wedding Waltz and The Cougar Anthem, respectively. They are dramatic counterpoints. Think of the theatrical masks, portraying tragedy and comedy. I wrote The Southern Gothic Wedding Waltz in about thirty minutes on a cold day in January in a small kitchen at the edge of New York City. I had seen a television episode about a real woman who was a preacher’s wife who ultimately murdered her abusive husband and fled with the children. By all accounts, she had been conditioned to believe that her role in life was to remain completely subservient in their household as wife and mother. This preacher’s wife is the song’s narrator, delivering the haunting refrain, “Dear God, what have I done?” The Cougar Anthem, on the other hand, was written in a hotel room in downtown Dallas just before a performance at Poor David’s Pub, where I was competing as a finalist in the B.W. Stevenson memorial songwriting contest. The song was sprung from nothing but sheer mischief. A friend had recently turned fifty, and his twenty-one-year-old daughter was dating a nineteen year old, whom we had met when we were in Dallas. It was her first real boyfriend, and I thought that my friend was being a little overprotective, I guess. I was trying to be optimistic, remarking that the boyfriend seemed nice and cute, too. Well, I guess I hit some paternal nerve because my friend turned red in the face and blustered something about him being only nineteen years old. “Well,” I said, “then good for her. She’s got it goin’ on. She’s twenty-one, and he’s nineteen years old and hot!” I suppose you could say the song actually just wrote itself from that point forward. It evolved, too, as I performed it in a variety of venues before diverse audiences. It was a fun song to play and record. Umar, my hair guy over at Thairapy on Waugh Street in Houston, ended up recording the hot backup vocals, and John Evans and Steve Christensen, our sound engineer at Sugar Hill Studios, just about clapped and stomped themselves blue in the face to help make this comical, beat-driven romp, which is, alas, a piece of pure fiction.
USA Today named The Cougar Anthem a top ten pick of the week on November 8, 2010: “‘He's 19 years old and hot hot hot’ and makes this of-a-certain-age Texas blues/country singer pine for an upgrade.’” And American Songwriter’s Paula Carino says, “Bell clearly has a sense of humor but doesn’t let it tip over into novelty. Case in point, the feisty ‘Cougar Anthem’: with its mischievous call-and-response chorus and cheerfully leering lyrics, it could be mistaken for a topical joke, but there’s no mistaking the pride in Bell’s voice when she says, ‘I’ve got my own money, and I’ve got my own car.’ Fans of classic country music will find much to appreciate here.” (February 2, 2011)