By Danielle Gorman
I grew up in Texas, so it’s no surprise that I grew up listening to country music. There really was no way of escaping it; both of my parents grew up in Texas, and while they aren’t post-digging, tobacco-chewing, bull-wrangling cowboys, they practically had George Straight living in their backyard. Because of this, I can now quote many Shinia Twain, Brooks and Dunn, and Kenny Chesney songs. And since I listened to these artists throughout my formative years, I’ll carry them with me the rest of my life.
I thought most families were like mine (I figured everybody’s mom had a secret crush on Collin Raye—turns out that’s just my mom) but I’m finding that that’s not the case. And because lots of people didn’t grow up listening to country, they have no idea who Randy Travis is.
I can understand this. And I can accept it. But country these days is awesome. Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban…they’re becoming legends right before our eyes. And the music is like no country ever before. With influences of pop and rock on that fun, twangy style, we find the country of today. It’s sassy, alcoholic, and unapologetic.
So why aren’t more young people listening to it?
According to Billboard Hot 100, the first country song to appear on the list this year comes in at #51 with Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach” (which, coincidentally, I’d never heard of before today). I’m beyond flabbergasted that Luke Bryan wasn’t at the very top of the list—that man can do no wrong as a musician. But, no, the first 50 songs are mostly rap songs with a few R&B and Pop sprinkled in.
What is so fascinating about rap music?
What’s the story there?
Where are the vocals?
Millennials are often charmed into following only what is “cool” and are missing out on other types of music. They’re sacrificing what’s impressive about music—spending hours, days, weeks perfecting melody and writing and rewriting the lyrics of the chorus until you know you’ve got a hit. Picture Miranda Lambert’s song “New Strings.” The chorus states: All the things that make you mad / and all the baggage in your past / don’t leave much room for a girl like me to be / so I’ll fill her up with hope and worn out dreams. Now, compare this to Kanye’s song “Famous”: I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b**** famous / G******, I made that b**** famous.
The lyrics are crude, unoriginal, and misogynistic. Lambert’s song is original, imaginative, and tells a story, a trademark of most country music. I hate to say it Kanye, but your song falls short.
I could spend hours illustrating the unique soul of country music, but there’s no way I could do the genre justice. It’s not the type of music teenagers tend to gravitate to (they will always want what is sensational, shocking, controversial, and rebellious—and country music isn’t really any of those things) but it’s a growing genre that is taking leaps and bounds towards recommending itself to the consumer, no matter their age.
So give it a try! Find a country song that you can relate to. And let us know about it in the comments.