Despite stereotypes, country music is unique and meaningful

Michael Read, Reporter

What is a stereotype? Simple question, right? What about stereotypes in music, specifically country music? Go ahead and think about the first things that come to mind when you hear country music.

Here’s my list: trucks, beer, country girls, tailgates, fried chicken, boots, the American flag and naturally, the crazy idea that everyone who listens to country music is either a redneck or a racist. Did your list match any of mine?

My list probably resembles yours because those who don’t listen to country don’t know the real meaning behind the genre. It is difficult to know the artists and the songs, because the stigma of the genre generally distracts people.

Yes, country music does have its share of songs about trucks, beer and country girls. “I Love this Bar,” “Alcohol,” “Truck Yeah” and “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” are just a few examples that exploit the typical country girl shaking it on the tailgate, or the true love of a man and his alcoholic beverage. But come on, who doesn’t love a good cold beer now and then?

But the country music genre is more than just a good time. It is music about real life. It is music about death, love and what truly matters in life: happiness. It might sound mushy, but the songs about real life make the genre so unique. It is what connects us – as fans – to artists on a level you can’t get anywhere else in the music industry.

Songs like Tim McGraw’s, “Live Like You Were Dying” and Garth Brooks’, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” are two staples in the genre that completely change the viewer’s outlook on life.

Country love songs are not simply about getting laid and twerking like Miley Cyrus, instead they have meaning. “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis, “Then” by Brad Paisley and “Remember When” by Alan Jackson are the types of songs you play to the lucky person in your life when you want to show them how much they mean to you lyrically.

Surprisingly, even some songs that mention trucks or drinking have a different meaning than the title may suggest. “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice, “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley featuring Alison Krauss and “Drink A Beer” by Luke Bryan, are all songs that suggest a stereotypical good old fashion time, but instead talk about important memories and commitment.

A large portion of country musicians write their own songs, record them and build an album all from the birthplace of country music. Nashville, Tennessee, is home to country music and many of its artists. It is a country music holy land filled with a rich musical history from the past, present and future of the genre.

Unlike pop influenced cities such as New York and Los Angeles, Nashville is special because everyone is a neighbor and family. Country music is built off this idea. You will rarely read the headlines and see a feud in country music. Everyone is friendly in the genre, which can be seen through several country award shows.

To all the people who say they don’t like country music, have you ever listened to it? Have you ever actually listened to the full song and its meaning? Probably not. And with that being said, all I have to say is, really? If you can listen to “Work” by Rihanna on repeat then you can give country the time of day.


email: [email protected]