I don’t like you.
In fact, there was a time in my life when I could honestly say, “I like all music except country.”
Life was simple. None of the awkwardness of my hipster friends asking me what I thought of some obscure band and then needing to actually go and listen to some of their songs before I could make a judgment call. If it was a country song, I could guarantee that I wouldn’t like it. The stereotypical whining drawl, the severely outdated twang of the hillbilly’s banjo, the adoration of trucks and beer–none of it appealed to me. In fact, I was offended that this stuff was taking up the airwaves.
Things have grown complicated now that I have been condemned to carpooling with my sister for the length of the summer. It’s her car. She runs the radio. We listen to country.
To maintain my sanity, Ive tried to open my mind to the great variety of music available in the country genre. If I were to be honest with myself and the rest of the world, I would have to admit that there are now a few country songs that I enjoy and even more that I can tolerate quite easily.
Wanting to give all art forms an equal chance (and to convince myself that I will make it through these next few months of car pooling), I have therefore made an effort to objectively analyze the good points of the country music industry.
Here is my country-hater’s defense of country music:
I dare you to find a country song whose lyrics don’t form some type of narrative. A lot of the stories are sad (hence the “I lost my dog, my truck, and my woman” stereotype), but just as many are joyous and/or party-related (hence the “Let’s drink Bud Lite on my tailgate while we baja through some farmer’s cornfield” stereotype.
More importantly, the fact that the lyrics of these songs are trying to weave some type of yarn for listeners makes them automatically meaningful. Just for this reason country is instantly greater than the arbitrary “tick tock on the clock but the party don’t stop no” mumbo jumbo chasing you every time you change the dial.
Somewhere between the impressive vocal ranges of the singers, the explicit declarations of love and loss in the lyrics, and the tense crescendos followed by glorious musical climaxes, even the most hard-hearted country-hater inevitably finds herself feeling something. Now that is art.
If you’re a lady who can resist the charm of a country love song, you’re a stronger woman than me.