For as long as I can remember, I have strongly disliked the genre of music known as country. I have had multiple music lovers try to argue that I actually do like country music because I listen to artists such as John Prine, Fleet Foxes, and John Denver. Recently a friend made a playlist for me entitled, “Does Devon Hate Country”, which led to a debate on the roots and particulars of country and specific artists. For the past few years, I have been formulating my argument against country music and I think I am finally confident enough to share it with the world.
To start, why do I hate country music? One I straight up do not like the sound. I find the twangy guitar and overdramatic western/southern accent not to my liking. I find the themes and lyrics less than progressive. Many country songs stress family values, drinking beer in a cornfield on a Saturday night, and dangerous nationalist ideals. In a society where we attempt to make strides in equality and progress, I find country music to be antiquated. Additionally, in the past couple of decades country music has been less than accepting of minorities in music. In 2019, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Roads’’ was removed from the Country Billboards because it was not “country enough” when the makeup of the song was similar to that of modern country artists. Coincidently, Lil Nas X is an openly gay black man. In 2015 a radio consultant, Keith Hill, warned against playing women country artists on the radio because “they’re just not the lettuce in our salad… the tomatoes of our salad are females.” If people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and women have no place in country music, that only leaves room for the narrative of straight white men.
It is also important for us to define what country music is. The way I see it, country music is just a branch from roots that represents music from settlers in the Appalachia’s and Western music. From there you have branches like honky-tonk, folk, Americana, bluegrass, etc. So yes, country has similar roots as those other genres, but they are not the same. To me, country is encompassed in the sound of the guitar and vocals, and the theme of the lyrics. Artists like Jason Aldean, Morgan Wallen, early Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood fit into this category.
I sincerely apologize if you like country and I offended you, but to quote that TikTok sound, “THAT’S MY OPINION!” So peace and love friends, and listen to whatever makes you happy.