Why Did I Write This Post?
I was introduced to country music in 8th grade. Before that, my family listened mainly to Christian contemporary, and I didn’t have an interest in exploring other genres. Pop music just wasn’t my thing. But then I started volunteering at the nearby zoo, where I worked backstage at the Bird Show every week. The employees there liked to listen to country, so that was what I heard while I mopped floors, cleaned cages, and played with the star rats. (Not random rats, they were in the show!)
At first, I hated it, but it grew on me. I began to prefer it over contemporary Christian artists, who never seemed to put out any new music. I enjoyed the twangy sound and the ballad-esque stories.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a lot more open to different types of music. My boyfriend listens to rock genres pretty exclusively, and I’ve gained a lot of appreciation for some of those artists. And of course, I also enjoy the occasional classical or Latin Spotify playlist — my nerdiness has to manifest itself somehow. But I mainly stick to country.
However, I have a few problems with the genre. I listen to new country, to be clear, and while the vast majority of it has a great sound, it can get really — and I mean really — trope-y. I mean, how many times can you rewrite the same hookup-in-a-bar scene?
I guess that is one of the bad things about country, and pop in general — there is so much pressure to put out new music that crappy songs get recorded far too often. Or maybe the general public just enjoys crap. (The upcoming election speaks to that theory, I think.)
Regardless, here’s my non-exhaustive list of examples of crappy country songs, and then a redeeming list of some really good ones. Enjoy!
List of Crap
Why It’s Crap: I love Cole Swindell’s voice, but this whole song is based around a guy meeting a girl at a club and dancing with her for like 5 minutes and then she leaves. What heartbreak. Your future was so full.
Why It’s Crap: Disclaimer — I’m not a fan of Luke Bryan to begin with. But this song takes every popular stereotype of a country boy and just smashes them together, and it’s not even that lyrical.
Why It’s Crap: Girl sees boys, thinks he’s hot, decides she can claim him as her own like he’s the last piece of cake. If a guy sang this song about a girl, wouldn’t we be up in arms? Why is it okay this way?
Why It’s Crap: Like the Swindell song above, this song revolves around meeting a girl at a bar and “falling in love,” except this time he misses his plane back to the States for her. What? (Although I have to admit this one is catchy as hell.)
Why It’s Crap: I think the song title kind of says it all. I happen to love this song, but it’s definitely a guilty pleasure because all he sees in the girl (that he meets at a bar — where else?) is her body.
Crap Disclaimer: I switch the station when some of the above songs come on, but a few of them I pulled from my own personal playlist. Guilty pleasures, indeed.
List of Gold
Why It’s Gold: It’s a beautiful, moving tribute to children of divorce. RaeLynn hits hard on things that affect (statistically) half of all children in the U.S.
Why It’s Gold: Because who doesn’t need some encouragement to follow our ambitions? This is a welcome break from boy-meets-girl.
Why It’s Gold: In a genre where boots, trucks, and beer are king, Kacey Musgraves iterates that it’s okay to be different.
Why It’s Gold: This is an incredibly unique twist on the classic breakup song. Regular listeners of country definitely did a double take when this first came out, and it’s definitely one worth putting on repeat.
Why It’s Gold: Country music is filled with themes of jealousy, alcoholism, and depression. While these themes need to be recognized and sung about, Tim McGraw emphasizes the positive things about human nature, and it’s a tear-jerker for all the right reasons.
If you enjoyed this, let me know in the comments! I could go on and on with the Gold list, so if this is something you want to see more of, I can make it happen. Have a great day, y’all!