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Why Country Music is A) Bad B) Great

Kamryn Washington and Mary Grace Samp

"One of the main things that draws me away from it is the sound of the artist’s voices. It is just ear piercing." "To start, most country music tells a story." 

Why Country Music...Is Bad

Kamryn Washington

If there was one genre of music that I’d be fine to NEVER listen to in my life again it would be country music. There are just so many things to hate about it. The twang in their voices, the banjos, the accent, just everything about it is horrible - sorry, but it’s the truth. Not to mention it is just flat out annoying, probably more annoying than slow walkers (which is my biggest pet peeve). 

One day, Mary Grace and I decided to try to change the other’s mind about their favorite music. We each played about four songs for the other (I played pop, and Mary Grace played country), which we had to listen to the whole time without changing it. After listening to four immensely painful country songs, I have remade up my mind about country music. The conclusion? It’s the worst thing to ever flow through my ears. If I had to say, “Life’s a Dance” by John Micheal Montgomery was the least bad song I listened to, but it still wasn’t good.

I can’t stand country music, which is why there are probably less than five songs I actually like from the genre, most being Taylor Swift songs. One of the main things that draws me away from it is the sound of the artist’s voices. It is just ear piercing. All of the artists either naturally have, or try to have, a too-deep southern accent. Like why? Just why do they all need to sound like they grew up in the most rural part of Alabama away from all civilization? Plus they all seem to have a yodel-like tone, adding to the annoyingness. Yodeling is a no no. A big no no that should never be allowed to come out of someone’s mouth (unless you’re a farmer in Switzerland). Maybe if country artists didn’t sound soooo much like country artists than the genre would actually be somewhat acceptable….. Just maybe. 

Secondly, they all sing about the same darn thing- falling in love, sitting in the back of a pickup truck while drinking some kind of alcohol, blah blah blah. There is no variation between each song. They all have the same lyrics, but organized in a different way and with a substitution of  few words here and there. Meanwhile with any other genre, there is some difference between each song’s meaning. (Plus they use instruments other than banjos and guitars.) Come on people, there are over 1500 instruments in the world so why would you only play the same two? I just don’t get it. 

Now, when you think of country artists or country listeners what comes to mind? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that everyone probably has the exact same vision. If you were like me, you probably pictured a man with an overgrown beard (or mustache) wearing a plaid shirt tucked into too tight bootcut jeans, old raggedy cowboy boots, all topped off with a belt and cowboy hat. And if it were a girl, she’d have two braids on either side of her head, dark eyeliner, and maybe a horse necklace. Which brings me to my other point…

There is very little variation in the people who sing and listen to country. Whereas for pop, rap, hiphop, rock, basically any other genre there is some diversity in the fans and artists. I guess what I am just trying to say is that country is just so stereotypical in a way. It’s all the same - southern sounding people playing guitars (or banjos) wearing plaid and jeans. With pop music, for example, there isn’t just one “look.” There isn’t just one sound. There are so many unique songs about different emotions and feelings and locations that really set it apart from country music.

So yes I hate country music with a burning passion, but hey, if you like it then kudos to you for being able to listen to that on a daily basis. Mary Grace and I may have our musical differences, but I think we can both conclude from our experiment that we each have strong opinions on country music. But personally, I know with a hundred percent certainty that if someone randomly came up to me and said, “Name one thing in your life right now that you’d be perfectly fine without,” within half a second I would say adios to country music for the well being of my sanity. 

Why You Should Give Country Music a Shot

Mary Grace Samp

Everyone has a favorite type of music, whether you listen to music or not. But, the genre that most people say that they hate is country music. Now, be honest. Have you actually tried listening to country music? Or do you just base your opinion on either your friends or “Country Roads” by John Denver? I mean, that isn’t even his best song. John Denver’s best song is “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” Country has many good aspects, but people don’t give this genre a chance. 

First, there are obviously country songs that don’t fit what I’m about to say. But, to start, most country music tells a story. It isn’t some guy bragging about his money and how many gold watches he has and talking fast to make up for the fact that he can’t sing. For example, “Check Yes or No” by George Strait tells the story of how he met his wife. He says that they go all the way back to third grade, and tells the really sweet story of how they grew up together. Or, if you don’t want a sappy love story, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks and Dunn is really good. It is very sad though, so if you cry easily, maybe don’t listen to it. Country artists tell these amazing stories in their songs, and some of them are very good at triggering emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger. If you are looking for a good story, look in music. 

If the song doesn’t tell a story, then it probably does one of two things. One, it teaches a lesson/gives a warning, or two, it’s some kind of love song. Some of the best songs are the ones that teach a lesson. For example, “Life’s a Dance” by John Micheal Montgomery starts with him telling us that he fell for a girl in his homeroom when he was fourteen, but he never told her, and she moved away from him. His last line before going into the chorus is “Sink or swim you’ve gotta give it a whirl.” That’s his way of saying that if you want something to happen, make it happen. I love the songs that teach lessons because some of them are actually valuable lessons. “If you’re going through hell” by Rodney Atkins tells you that even if you hit a bad spot in life, keep going and don’t give up. He basically walks you through how to deal with pain, hardship, and loss. 

I know that some people are really against love songs, but some of the ones that are written by country singers are really good and very catchy. There are two types of love songs in country music. The guys that are head over boots for a girl, or the ones where a guy has realized how badly he messed up by letting a girl go. First, “She Sets The City On Fire” by Gavin Degraw, who is a more recent country artist that doesn’t make his songs too pop-like, talks about how much he is in love with her and how he can’t believe that she is his girl. On the opposite side of the spectrum is “Not Over You” also by Gavin Degraw. He is basically saying how much he is in pain after losing a girl (I’m not sure if it’s the same girl). He begs her to come back to him. 

Country love songs are different from pop songs because with pop songs, the singer is usually telling other people, but in country music, the song is usually addressed to the person that it is talking about. Country songs are much more personal. A different kind of love song is “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. This song is from a father to his daughter. She is getting married and he is saying how much he loves her, but also warning her new husband that he better love her for all she is worth. And guess what. A lot of people use this at their weddings when the father dances with his daughter. It’s really cliche now, but I still think that it is really cute.

There is also one more type of song that doesn’t really fit into any of these, and one of those songs is “Deeper Than The Holler” by Randy Travis. He wrote this song to show his love but also to mock all of the pop singers who say stuff like “My love for you is taller than the mountains” and stuff like that. This is just a really catchy song that I thought should be added.

Now, if you read Kamryn’s article first, you heard her talk about banjos and whatnot. Most of the instruments used in country music are actually used in most pop songs. Guitar, piano, and sometimes even drums. So the instruments are not a reason to not like country, nor are they a valid excuse to not listen to it. Another invalid excuse is that their accents are “too-southern.” Let’s be honest here. Can you control how you talk or how/where you were raised? No. I didn’t think so. Also, none of the songs that I have mentioned above say anything about a pick-up truck or drinking any kind alcohol, and neither did any of the songs that I played for Kamryn. People make assumptions based on stereotypes that they hear from other people without looking into it and making their own conclusion. I’m not saying that you have to like country music. All that I am saying is that you should give it a chance and that you shouldn’t shoot it down without actually listening to it. 

Last, but not least, if you are looking for some good country music to listen to, here are a few suggestions:

“Life’s a Dance” - John Micheal Montgomery
“Not Over You” - Gavin Degraw
“How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls” - George Strait
“Cowgirls Don’t Cry” - Brooks and Dunn
“Thank God I’m A Country Boy” - John Denver
“Amarillo By Morning” - George Strait
“Neon Moon” - Brooks and Dunn
“Deeper Than The Holler” - Randy Travis
“Write This Down” - George Strait
“Check Yes or No” - George Strait
“Rhinestone Cowboy” - Glen Campbell
“Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” - Waylon Jennings (original by Ed Bruce)
“I Loved Her First” - Heartland

These are not the only country songs out there. They are just some of my favorites.
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